Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Peak a Boo


Just in case you aren't scared out of your PJs enough already,

Here is a headline from Reuters that is fitting for the day.

World oil production may have peaked-executive
Thu Oct 26, 2006
By Scott Malone

BOSTON, Oct 26 (Reuters) - World production of crude oil may have already peaked, setting the stage for declining output that could lag demand, a top advocate of the "peak oil" theory said on Thursday. (watch)

Matthew Simmons, chairman of Simmons & Co. International, a Houston-based investment banking firm specializing in the energy sector, said U.S. government data showed that the world oil supply has declined through the first half of this year.

Energy Information Administration data showed world supply of crude oil has declined to 83.98 million barrels per day in the second quarter after hitting 84.35 million bpd in the fourth quarter of 2005.

"If you basically have another six to ten months of that decline lasting, then I think for certain we would look back and say, 'Guess what? We actually reached a sustainable peak in crude oil production in December 2005,'" Simmons said at a meeting of the United States of the the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas."

At the same meeting of ASPO, Robert Hirsch, the author of the famous Hirsch Report, gave this presentation. Here are a few of the key slides.

For what it is worth, my date is 2009 depending on whether or not a serious downtick is brought on by the declining housing market. Whether it simply needs to cool, or it is a giant balloon that is about to go pooohheee, the next few quarters will tell.

Peak Oil has become a bit of a cult religion.

So was Christianity.

Rome used to run the world.

Much like oil does now.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



art courtesy of Hamish McLean

Monday, October 30, 2006

Whose Death Squads?

Money and His Fool

Yesterday a tall, handsome, strong
young man stopped a moment to look
at our Icon Wheel, picked up an Afghan coin.

"I’m going to Baghdad next month," he said,
sunlight glinting across high dollar sun glasses.

"The writing on the coin says God is Merciful
and Compassionate," Jay told him.

"Why are you going to Baghdad?" I asked.

"I’m a security guard, just got back from
a year in Beijing.

"That was a better assignment," I said, making
a note to find out what Blackwater is doing
in China.

"This one pays more," he said and walked away.

"He's not going to come home," Jay
said just as I was thinking it.

We're probably wrong.

Blackwater has only lost 25 men,
several famously mangled on a Fallujah bridge,
since the US invaded Iraq. They train security
forces, for one thing, and are properly
equipped. Unlike Blackwater Guards
enlisted men and women do not earn
a base pay of $600 dollars a day.

I've been wondering who could possibly benefit
from scores of dead bodies, bound with Iraqi police
hand cuffs
, heads bored through power drills,
battered by torture, that turn up
every morning in Baghdad — some reports
say it's a pay for kill scenario.

Even Newsweek reports the El Salvador option
holds sway in Baghdad.

Remember Rumsfeld, Bush, Cheney fast tracking
training for Iraqi security guards?
Was that code for training death squads?
Blackwater was working for Bremer.

Government vehicles transport the death squads
in and out of Baghdad neighborhoods.

US Media wants to call it Civil War.

The thing is —
Sunni and Shi'a intermarry everywhere in Iraq.
It's a non-sectarian society so if there's a civil
war someone went to a great deal of trouble
to create it.

Better to locate oil fields.

Why did the United States build permanent military outposts
like Camp Balad, swimming pools, private air strips,
suburban neighborhoods, I-max theaters, body building
temples designed by Arnold Schwarzenegger —
instead of Iraqi schools, hospitals, water treatment plants,
roads, neighborhood grocery stores, government service agencies?

Why hire Halliburton for billions and not
Iraqi citizens to rebuild their own country?

Who benefits from jobless societies?

Who benefits from civil chaos?
To whose advantage is it when people live
in bombed out homes, are afraid to step outside,
and government is completely undermined?

Who will resist the multinational oil deals
just now being finalized, if the Iraqi government
is completely dysfunctional?

This tall, handsome young man who, briefly,
examined an Afghan coin yesterday
doesn't ask what you have to do to a society of people
who write God is Merciful and Compassionate on money,
to make them hate you.

He just does it, buying into the coin of
the Empire, nevermind it's teetering
on the verge of economic disaster, morally bankrupt,
lawless —

Afghans, when their money became worthless,
turned coins into jewelry.

How long before hundred dollar bills
turn up in Chinese Walmarts as paper finger pulls,
origami fish, folded paper earrings?

* Image: The Fool and His Money

©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.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Saturday, October 28, 2006

Deja Voodoo

Here is an oldie but a goodie with a slight rewrite of the end.

Parallel Reality

"Scientists now believe there may really be a parallel universe - in fact, there may be an infinite number of parallel universes, and we just happen to live in one of them. These other universes contain space, time and strange forms of exotic matter. Some of them may even contain you, in a slightly different form.

Astonishingly, scientists believe that these parallel universes exist less than one millimetre away from us. In fact, our gravity is just a weak signal leaking out of another universe into ours.

For years parallel universes were a staple of the Twilight Zone. Science fiction writers loved to speculate on the possible other universes which might exist. In one, they said, Elvis Presley might still be alive or in another the British Empire might still be going strong. Serious scientists dismissed all this speculation as absurd.

But now it seems the speculation wasn't absurd enough.

Parallel universes really do exist and they are much stranger than even the science fiction writers dared to imagine.

It all started when superstring theory, hyperspace and dark matter made physicists realize that the three dimensions we thought described the Universe weren't enough. There are actually 11 dimensions. By the time they had finished they'd come to the conclusion that our Universe is just one bubble among an infinite number of membranous bubbles which ripple as they wobble through the eleventh dimension.

Is there a copy of you reading this blog? A person who is not you but who lives on a planet called Earth, with misty mountains, fertile fields and sprawling cities, in a solar system with eight other planets? The life of this person has been identical to yours in every respect. "

But perhaps he or she will now decide to click over to atrios without finishing, yet you read on.

I got a glimpse of such a parallel universe the other day as I was going through the drive-in bank. Suddenly, I could see a world just like ours where the big tall buildings were not banks or office towers full of corporations owned by stockholders.

No, the world I saw was full of Cooperations, some large, some small.

But the really big Cooperations had their own towers, just like the Sears Tower in Chicago or the old Chrysler building in New York.

In this world, the Cooperations ruled. They controlled the media through their advertising. They controlled the news through their broad ownership of media properties. They shaped the news and therefore controlled the way the people thought. They made the laws through their contributions to the so-called elected officials. They wrote the text books, the history books, and they created their own religions to give themselves a moral and spiritual foundation and edifice.

Violence was uncivilized.

War was unthinkable.

Peace was a given.

These Cooperations existed to provide services and goods for their members. And they were owned and democratically managed by their constituent members. There were Cooperation logos everywhere. They were on the shoes, the hats, the shirts, and the giant stadium score boards.

They sponsored teams and races and golf tournaments.

Some members of these Cooperations were super enthusiastic about their coop. They would belong to no other because they knew that their coop was the very best at what it did for its members.

It was the job of the Cooperation to find, identify, and contract with the very best provider for the product or service that it provided for its members.

Some of the Cooperations did it all. They provided food, housing, transportation, health enhancement, telecommunication, IT support, all in one neat efficient package. They were very powerful entities. Some were even more powerful than the national governments they operated within. Many had economies larger than the economies of the nation states.

Some smaller Cooperations were specialist in their fields, yet their members came from all over the Earth. Some provided unique legal or diplomatic services. Other Cooperations were uniquely local and very much in tune with the land. Still others were simply neighborhood organizations that actually protected and provided for its members.

In this world, there were members and providers.

In the other world, there are stockholders and consumers.

What happens when two parallel universes touch?

A very big bang.

And a new universe is born.

A universe of time, and space, and energy.

And potential.

And Hope.

As Humankind deals with the great forcing issues

of Climate Change and Resource Depletion,

We will have to completely rethink what we do,

how we do it, and who we truly want to be.

Corporations have programmed us to believe

that we are consumers,

that we exist to make their profits, for their investors.

In the other reality, they exist to make things

and provide service.

As Butch Hancock says in his new song,

Whose going to be the slave?

Whose going to be the master?

It's our world,

Maybe not.

* Rene Magritte


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Friday, October 27, 2006

The Sacred Balance

On the side of my bed is a book entitled "The Sacred Balance". It is written by David Suzuki.

Its introduction begins with these words:

Suppose that 200,000 years ago, biologist from another galaxy searching for life forms in other parts of the universe had discovered Earth and parked their space vehicle above the Rift Valley in Africa. They would have gazed upon vast grasslands filled with plants and animals, including a newly evolved species, Homo sapiens.

It is highly unlikely that those extra-galactic exobiologists would have concentrated their attention on this young upright ape species in anticipation of its meteoric rise to preeminence a mere two hundred millennia later.

After all, those early humans lived in small family groups that didn't rival the immense herds of wildebeast and antelope. In comparison with other many other species, they weren't especially large, fast or strong. or gifted with sensory acuity.

Those early humans possessed a survival trait that was invisible because it was locked within their skulls and only revealed through their behavior.

Their immense and complex brains endowed them with tremendous intelligence, conferring as well a vast capacity for memory, and insatiable curiosity and an astonishing creativity, abilities that catapulted their descendants into a position of dominance on the planet.


But suddenly in the last century, Homo sapiens has undergone a radical transformation into a new kind of force that I call a "superspecies".

For the first time in the 3.8 billion years that life has existed on Earth, one species-- humanity-- is altering the biological, physical and chemical features of the planet on a geologic scale."

Yesterday I saw this story.

Environmentalist Suzuki to quit spotlight for simple life

In it, Suzuki says,

"Nobody any longer knows what a sustainable future is," the bearded, bespectacled environmentalist told Reuters in a recent interview in Australia to promote his book, "David Suzuki: The Autobiography."

"I feel like we are in a giant car heading for a brick wall at 100 miles an hour and everyone in the car is arguing where they want to sit. For God's sake, someone has to say put the brakes on and turn the wheel."

I can't help but get encouraged by the notion that the Homo Sapiens in the geographic state that is known as the United States might actually use their "their immense and complex brains" and actually vote out the congress of the current regime of oil that has become the worst government in the history of that state.

But I must admit that, like Suzuki, I hear somewhere in the din of political discourse, the Suzukian equivalent of


Let us do what we can to make certain that this wave of discontent and sanity will flow over their levees of deceit and vote counting chicanery.

But, let us also be quick to remind those who come in with this tide,

that it is high time to quit arguing about who gets "shotgun",

and maybe just enough time to step on the brakes

and turn the wheel.

And create another world in

The Sacred Balance.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Other Side

Today, I had another mind numbing day with those laggards of society who refuse to accept that the world has changed. These hard core professionals feel they know the realities of the world, and that they know through years of marginalization and outright cavaliar disregard for their ideas that they should always be realistic, and careful not to dream.

I am speaking, of course, of the Renewable Energy Industry.

The group was attempting to adopt a new policy position that called for a 2020 goal of “20% of electric energy" and 10 % of the state's transportation energy , with a greenhouse gas freeze at 2006 levels. For years, they had previously adopted a 20% of total energy by 2020 goal, but this group has matured as they have been brought into the family of respectable energy providers in the vaunted pantheon of energy bohemoths and had thus scaled back their previous lofty goals.

After a bit of discussion, I was able to persuade the group to go back to a state goal which called for “25 % of total energy to be produced by renewables by the year 2025”, with a greenhouse gas rollback to 2000 levels.

Then, I came back to my office and saw this story.

Compact Signed to Raise Renewable Energy
to 25% of Global Energy Supply

MOU Negotiated at Great Wall World Renewable Energy Forum in Beijing

Renewable Energy News
October 25, 2006

Beijing, China - A historic agreement was forged today among four renewable energy organizations to assess the feasibility of increasing the use of renewable energy to 25% of global primary energy supply by the year 2025.

The memorandum of understanding entitled "Joint Assessment of Reaching 25% Renewable Energy by the Year 2025" was negotiated and signed by Michael Eckhart, President of the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE), Li Junfeng, Executive Director of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association (CREIA), Arthouros Zervos, President of the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC), and Wolfgang Palz, Chairman of the World Council for Renewable Energy (WCRE).

"The time is right to raise our thinking to the next level," stated Michael Eckhart of ACORE.

"We acknowledge Europe's pledge to increase renewable energies, China's commitment to 15% renewables, and the Renewable Portfolio Standards of many of the US states, and now join together to assess how to take the next step in policy development.

"The memorandum calls for the groups to assess the feasibility and policy requirements needed to move the US, Europe and China to the 25% level in their respective areas, and to merge the results together into a joint report one year from now.

"It is imperative that we do this now," said Wolfgang Palz of WCRE.

"The world cannot wait for such policy thinking.

"The signing took place at the Great Wall World Renewable Energy Forum (GWREF), a world conference and exposition in China that opened this week with leaders from the US, Europe, China and other countries in attendance.” More

As aggressive and laudable as this goal and agreement is,

the truth is,

It is not nearly enough.

As I mentioned in today's meeting, studies in Tony Blair’s environmental ministry are indicating that humankind will need to reduce greenhouse gases by 90 % in the next 40 years, if we are to have a fighting chance of keeping average temperatures from climbing 2 degrees Centigrade.

If we do not act to keep the global temperature from rising over 2 degrees Centigrade, then there is very high likelihood that human culture, as we know it, will be over.

Yes, over.

When you are trying to jump over a dangerous crevice.

It is really not very relevant if you made it a quarter of the way,

Or half the way, or for that matter,

99% of the way.

You need to get to the other side.

What worked in the past,

Won’t work now.

We need to apply our best efforts

And use our resources as wisely as we can,

Or our great grandchildren will hate us.

Had they survived.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Wednesday, October 25, 2006


The Mad Moderate

delivered our Lloyd Doggett sign
tonight just before supper.
The old orange cat slipped in
for an autumn nap
as our new friend held the front door
open through a long declaration
of exactly Why he was mad
as hell at the Bush Administration.

Said he’d gone to the Travis County
Republican convention
the year Bush was elected.

If I’d been telling it I would have
said the year of the coup d’état

Mostly I was trying to keep
three large dogs from slipping
out the front door while
The Mad Moderate
continued to explain to Jay,
who is in a mood to vote against
ALL incumbents, that Doggett
voted against the Patriot Act,
against fast tracking Free Trade,
against restricting Habeas Corpus
and was great on the environment
and women’s issues, really everything
except Iraq, and was better this year
about that.

The Mad Moderate told us
he’d gotten seven letters
to the editor published.

I said, "Let me shake your hand."

I know Lloyd Doggett
mainly from years of work to
protect Barton Springs.

Right after 911 he came home
and held an impromptu town meeting
at a NOW conference right before
I read a an anti-war poem, thinking
then they would do what they have done.

I’ve phone banked for his campaign
every time he’s run for office save
once, when he lost a local race
by 19 votes.

I complain bitterly when he votes
to fund the war.

He told me I was in the minority,
that he agreed with me, but had to
represent the district.

That's what he used to say.
Lots of us are mad at him about
voting to fund Iraq.

Recently he's backed the Murtha plan,
who looks like my grandfather,
and says we should negotiate with
all stakeholder governments in the
Middle East and re-deploy troops.

When Tom Delay led the re-districting
fiasco that turned Lloyd’s district into
a fajita strip going from north
of Austin to the border splitting the city
and cutting us out of his district I made sure
hundreds of people cast the vote for him
I lost, supported all the Killer-Ds,
still do.

I helped write the State Democratic
Platform, and it's a good document,
not that anyone pays much attention
to platforms.

I like Lloyd Doggett.
His father was a dentist about whom people
say when you call them, "He was a good man."
His wife's fluent Spanish helped hold the new
district together.

The Mad Moderate
is delivering and installing Democrat
yard signs in our left wing neighborhood.

This guy, who helped Bush get
elected in 2000, is arguing with my
husband who’s mad at everyone
in the Congress, even Lloyd.

But now Jay's going to vote for
Doggett, the dogs didn’t
get out and our front yard looks
like Democrat central, all of which
occurred just as I was serving supper,
because I’d called a friend and
asked for a John Courage yard sign
thinking we were still in his district.

But we got un-gerrymandered
and given back to Lloyd,
so Jay has to vote for one
incumbent after all.

* Art by Jum Nuttle

Click here to identify and support peace candidates in local districts.

©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.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Bizarre Thought


Perhaps 20 years ago, I began to include a little bit in my speeches and presentations that some day, we would see global warming law suits that would make all the other class action law suits look like a space flea on Neptune.

Generally, my groups, even the best of them, would look at me with that look of marvel at what bizarre thoughts a truly creative brain is capable of, and then put the notion aside.

Since then, the state Tobacco Law suits have emblazened a trail for the roping in of rogue corporations that will recklessly endanger the lives of their addicted customers and the surrounding innocent bystanders who worked or lived around them.

Now, the idea is becoming main stream.

Here is the story from Business Week.

Global Warming: Here Come The Lawyers
Business Week
October 30, 2006

It's the next wave of litigation -- after tobacco, guns, and junk food. Why Detroit, Big Oil, and utilities should worry

Two days after hurricane Katrina smashed into the Gulf Coast, F. Gerald Maples returned to his hometown of Pass Christian, Miss., to utter devastation. Most of his neighbors' houses were totally destroyed. His was in ruins. "It broke our hearts and absolutely changed our lives," he says. It also made Maples, a veteran asbestos plaintiffs' attorney in New Orleans, determined to fight back. "I couldn't stand by when my entire cultural history was destroyed by an event that could become more frequent because of global warming," he says.

So when friend and fellow trial lawyer Timothy W. Porter showed up to help with food and water, the two plotted a legal assault. Since Katrina's fury was powered by unusually warm Gulf water, and since such warmth could result from global warming, companies that have pumped the atmosphere full of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide should be liable for damages, they figured.

"To me, Katrina was a clear result of irresponsible behavior by the carbon-emissions corporate economy," says Maples. He recruited suddenly homeless neighbors like Ned Comer and filed a class action on their behalf in federal court in Gulfport, Miss.

The defendants?

Dozens of oil companies, utilities, and coal producers, from Chevron and Exxon Mobil (XOM ) to American Electric Power (AEP ) and Xcel Energy (XEL ). "This is a heartfelt effort," Maples says. "I don't want to leave this global warming mess to my children."


Neither, apparently, do a host of other lawyers, in what is becoming an ambitious legal war on oil, electric power, auto, and other companies whose emissions are linked to global warming. At least 16 cases, drawing on a variety of legal strategies, are pending in federal or state court. It may seem like an unconnected hodgepodge of initiatives, but whether it's a case now before the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to force the Environmental Protection Agency to crack down on greenhouse gases or the effort by a coalition of Texas cities to require cleaner plants than 17 now proposed by utilities, the challenges spring from a common concern: the lack of action in Washington.

"This boomlet in global warming litigation represents frustration with the White House's and Congress' failure to come to grips with the issue," says John Echeverria, executive director of Georgetown University's Environmental Law & Policy Institute. "So the courts, for better or worse, are taking the lead."


Business is fighting hard to toss the issue of global warming out of the courts entirely. "These kinds of judgments should be made by elected representatives," insists Quentin Riegel, vice-president for litigation at the National Association of Manufacturers. While industry lawyers don't fear any imminent liability, they are taking the litigation seriously. Three big law firms -- Hunton & Williams, Jones Day, and Sidley Austin -- are coordinating defense efforts on behalf of a group of utilities.

There are signs that others see the writing on the wall. Bryan Cave partner J. Kevin Healy says he advises corporate clients that they need to take "reasonable" steps to pare back emissions to reduce their legal exposure.

And despite the strong opposition to mandatory limits from the White House and key lawmakers, many companies, some with an eye to potential litigation, are privately ready to sign on to such curbs. Louisiana utility Entergy Corp. (ETR ) even took the unusual step of filing a brief supporting the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case.


Even more litigation could be in the offing. Stanford University and others plan symposiums on legal responses to global climate change. And Stephen D. Susman, one of the nation's top trial lawyers, is making the issue a personal crusade. His firm is representing the Texas cities pro bono in their effort to assure cleaner power plants, and he's looking for other opportunities to help the cause.

In the 1990s, Susman defended Philip Morris Cos. (MO ) in the tobacco lawsuits filed by state attorneys general and thought his opponents' legal theories were so "bizarre" that they didn't have a chance.

"It turns out that I was the fool, and I'm not going to let that take place again," Susman says."

Whether or not the concentration of the oil companies partially contemplates the unitization of their social liability, only the minutes of their board meetings will tell, but one thing is for sure.

If you are a big company executive, and you are betting than you can make some immoral profit by building a lot of coal plants, a lot of SUVs, or giant homes that are inefficient, you are laying the groundwork for a combined action law suit that will bring you and your stockholders to their proverbial knees.

And maybe, just maybe, you will be able to share a room with Skillings.

The alternative of course, is to shape up and make profits doing the right thing.

"Going green,'' it appears, has never been a more profitable idea," states this Bloomberg editorial.

Now there's a Bizarre Thought.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



art courtesy of Jim Stanis

Monday, October 23, 2006

Dancing in the Street

Night Dance

When the Stones played Zilker Park
50,000 people paid $100 each to go inside
the fence, to catch a glimpse of Mick Jagger
in red sequins dance, belt out classics —
he even sang "Bob Wills is King,"
the crowd went wild.

We sat on our front porch.
One of the twins
and his wife and baby girl walked down
to the park and returned with the news
that it was easier
to hear the Stones from our yard
than close up.

I pointed a phone at the sky.
My sister in California caught a riff
"Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself."

The other twin and his girlfriend
sat on the tailgate of a pickup
in the driveway snuggling and

At one point I said something
and he said,
"Speak up Mom. We’re at a Concert."

Jay and I sat on the porch —
a plate of blackened chicken,
warm bread, a glass of wine.

The momentum of cheering crowds
washed across our neighborhood in waves.

Later, we danced in the street with our
two year old granddaughter,
then watched fireworks thru the branches
of trees holding the beat.

Gotta love South Austin.
We’ve got a local bumper sticker —
78704: Not a Zip Code, A Way of Life.

©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.

* Night Dance Art, Lily Simons


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Saturday, October 21, 2006


Often, OK maybe not often, but often enough, I speak of being a transnationalist. The word, which is really a meme, is a fairly new one in the lexicon of human development, and I wasn't even sure it officially existed as such. So, I googled it today, and low and behold, I found that it is now in Wikipedia.


"The concept of transnationalism is focused on the heightened interconnectivity between people all around the world and the loosening of boundaries between countries. The nature of transnationalism has social, political and economic impacts that affect people all around the globe.

The concept of transnationalism has facilitated the flow of people, ideas and goods between regions. It has been greatly affected by the internet, telecommunications, immigration and most importantly globalization.

Concepts like citizenship, nationalism and communitarianism are being changed and reexamined with this phenomenon of the modern age.

Transnationalism is often linked to internationalism but differs in the sense that internationalism proper refers to global co-operation between nation states, while transnationalism aims to global co-operation between peoples, and the obliteration of nation states.

Transnationalism is closely related to cosmopolitanism. If transnationalism describes the individual experience, cosmopolitanism is the philosophy behind it. Transnational life styles could be precursor to a cosmopolitan world government.


Facilitated by increased global transportation and telecommunication technologies more and more migrants have developed strong transnational ties to their home countries, blurring the congruence of social space and geographic space."

Now, my definition of transnationalism does not contemplate the obliteration of nation states any more than nationalism requires the obliteration of other lesser political organizations like states, counties, cities, or school districts. It only requires that the basic ideology which defines our primary allegiance be tweeked a bit.

You can track a meme by googling it.

And today, there are 17,700 hits for transnationalist. And there are about 537,000 for Transnationalism. There are 16 million hits for Nationalism. The first one listed is from Wikipedia.

Nationalism is an ideology [1] that holds that a nation is the fundamental unit for human social life, and takes precedence over any other social and political principles. Nationalism makes certain political claims based upon this belief: above all, the claim that the nation is the only legitimate basis for the state, that each nation is entitled to its own state, and that the borders of the state should be congruent with the borders of the nation.

[2] Nationalism refers to both a political doctrine[3] and any collective action[4] by political and social movements on behalf of specific nations.

Nationalism has had an enormous influence upon world history, since the nation-state has become the dominant form of state organization." more

Nationalism therefore is an ideology.

And, at this point in time in human development, it is a very powerful ideology. But, once an ideology or meme becomes a barrier to human development, it becomes a less powerful ideology and its power to control our minds and thinking processes begins to wane.

And another meme, such as Transnationalism , will spring up and begin to wax in the free independent minds of thinkers all over the planet.

And the meme of global cooperation will replace the meme of global competition.

And the idiology of capital will succumb to a new ideology of sustainability

and of Peace.

We will have to give up our worn out memes which would lead us down the paths that will result in the ends that we do not want to visit, and instead collectively begin to spread a new meme of transcendent transnationism.

We will certainly have to replace our worn out nationalistic memes of standard progressive left wing politics. (sorry guys)

Transcendental Transnationalism requires that we understand that

We are all sailors on this craft.

And we can't afford to shoot the cooks,

or the guys who climb the mast,

or the guys who mend the ship.

We will even need to forgive the Blighs.

That's where the transcendence comes in.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



art courtesy of Alex Grev

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Control Center

I think most of us feel a need to have control in our lives.

And most of us probably do have some amount of control.

We can make good choices that afford us various possibilities.

If we choose to be studious, we can find ourselves with a degree

that allows us to be a doctor, or a lawyer, or a scientist.

If we choose to work hard, we can find ourselves with a degree

of comfort in our well appointed homes and cars and plasma screens.

If we choose to play too hard, we can find ourselves with

a liver that doesn't want to play anymore,

and if we choose to only eat steak and potatoes,

we will have something other than a heart of gold.

Our decisions therefore give us a certain amount of control

as we motivate ourselves through the space-time we are given,

in these vessels we often identify our consciousness with.

But in our deeper selves, we know that this control in our lives is illusory.

A speeding car, a sudden spike in blood pressure, a slip of the heel,

can change everything in seconds.

Often, when I am finding myself on the edge of the control horizon,

I try to center.

Not because it helps with controlling or changing the situation itself,

but because it helps in my response to the perceived loss of control.

And that is where the control of my world is effected.

In my response to the chaotic world of change and caprice,

My control of the situation comes from my response to it.

If I am centered, then that response will likely be appropriate.

If I am not, then my response will probably aggravate the situation.

I hate it when that happens.

But the point is this.

We don't ever lose control.

Because we really never had any.

But, when we maintain our center,

who we are, what we believe, our personal moral high ground,

and our sense of well being in the oneness,

The edges fall off.

And the control horizon recedes like a mirage,

on a hot, straight, deserted west Texas highway.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Real Gem

If you wonder why our oil POTUS and his Vice POTUS can't seem to understand what is happening in Iraq, it's because they do understand.

It Is the Oil.

And if you wonder why the Sunnis fight so hard for western Iraq,

It Is the Oil.

And if you wonder why we have made such a mess of the War, allowing and perhaps inducing civil war between the various religious factions,

It Is the Oil.

Here is a part of the story from an AlterNet article by Joshua Holland.

Bush's Petro-Cartel Almost Has Iraq's Oil

Even as Iraq verges on splintering into a sectarian civil war, four big oil companies are on the verge of locking up its massive, profitable reserves, known to everyone in the petroleum industry as "the prize."

By Joshua Holland
10/18/06 "

Iraq is sitting on a mother lode of some of the lightest, sweetest, most profitable crude oil on earth, and the rules that will determine who will control it and on what terms are about to be set.

The Iraqi government faces a December deadline, imposed by the world's wealthiest countries, to complete its final oil law. Industry analysts expect that the result will be a radical departure from the laws governing the country's oil-rich neighbors, giving foreign multinationals a much higher rate of return than with other major oil producers and locking in their control over what George Bush called Iraq's "patrimony" for decades, regardless of what kind of policies future elected governments might want to pursue.

Iraq's energy reserves are an incredibly rich prize. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, "Iraq contains 112 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, the second largest in the world (behind Saudi Arabia), along with roughly 220 billion barrels of probable and possible resources. Iraq's true potential may be far greater than this, however, as the country is relatively unexplored due to years of war and sanctions." For perspective, the Saudis have 260 billion barrels of proven reserves.

Iraqi oil is close to the surface and easy to extract, making it all the more profitable. James Paul, executive director of the Global Policy Forum, points out that oil companies "can produce a barrel of Iraqi oil for less than $1.50 and possibly as little as $1, including all exploration, oilfield development and production costs." Contrast that with other areas where oil is considered cheap to produce at $5 per barrel or the North Sea, where production costs are $12-16 per barrel.


But the real gem -- what one oil consultant called the "Holy Grail" of the industry -- lies in Iraq's vast western desert. It's one of the last "virgin" fields on the planet, and it has the potential to catapult Iraq to No. 1 in the world in oil reserves. Sparsely populated, the western fields are less prone to sabotage than the country's current centers of production in the north, near Kirkuk, and in the south near Basra.

The Nation's Aram Roston predicts Iraq's western desert will yield "untold riches."


Both independent analysts and officials within Iraq's Oil Ministry anticipate that when all is said and done, the big winners in Iraq will be the Big Four -- the American firms Exxon-Mobile and Chevron, the British BP-Amoco and Royal Dutch-Shell -- that dominate the world oil market.

Ibrahim Mohammed, an industry consultant with close contacts in the Iraqi Oil Ministry, told the Associated Press that there's a universal belief among ministry staff that the major U.S. companies will win the lion's share of contracts. "The feeling is that the new government is going to be influenced by the United States," he said." more

It is rather telling that the facts of our invasion of Iraq have been so twisted and and that the US occupation of that country has been so tortured. The scene was set when the US troops entered Baghdad and immediatelty deployed to the the Oil Ministry, leaving the Antiquities Museum to be looted.

The leadership of the United States was formerly employed

by the oil and gas sector.

And they have their War.

And they will have their Gem.

No matter that the oil should not be burned at all

because of Climate Change.

No matter that a half million Iraqis have been butchered in the process.

No matter that as many soldiers have been lost in this war

as civilians on 9/11.

No matter that the American Treasury has been looted

of perhaps 2 trillion dollars.

The "Big 4" have their Gem.

Yes, this POTUS represents his Constituents well.

All Four of them.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content



Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Who Benefits?

Refugee Camp Darfour

Several years ago I travelled to Uganda for a World Women's Congress, during which I taped a session on women and refugees in Africa. Listening to testimony about refugee camps in The Sudan, camps for internally displaced persons in Uganda, refugee camps all over the continent, I was filled with awe and horror. Today I find a news story claiming The Sudan to be the third largest oil producing country in Africa. I visited the source of the Nile River, and found a huge dam and water system described in the first poem below. Powerlines and transformers buldged out of a power grid and ran throughout the countryside where people have no electricity, into the cities where it is common for dozens of families to share one power cord. The springs that are the source of the Nile River are now underwater in a shallow lake that connects Lake Victoria to the Nile. A second dam project was in the works, to benefit whom, one wondered. Who benefits from Sudanese oil? Who benefits from miles of farmland planted with tea and coffee in the Ugandan countryside where people in local villages have no jobs or food?

Below: Rapids at Jinji, on the other side of the dam.

frican Boat

A blue African boat
cuts through soft water just past rapids
on the far side of the source
of the Nile.
One man, deep black skin,
oars a light blue wooden boat
Prussian blue water.
Cormorants circle over head
in something like a mist made from
humid air and brilliant equatorial light

Madiee says there is a swimmer
who rides the rapids, huge swelling
waves that tuck into themselves
and pour out white water.
I say he’d have to know what
he was doing, how the current
runs and dips, where to dive
and where you’d be spit up,
where the boulders are —

I wonder if anyone could do this —
and then if I could do it

I think I could swim alongside
the pale blue boat
and ache to do it
a deep, old longing
that pulls me to
the heart of things.


I am Nogalo, mother of twins.
John is Sangalo, father of twins.
Our sons are Waswa, the older one
who is bossy, and Kato, the second born
who is mellow and compliant.

This circumstance, which I consider my
greatest trial and sometime blessing,
brings me the friendship of
Ugandans, who routinely discuss family
matters at the top of every social encounter,
before business, before whatever people
gather to accomplish, first one speaks
of family —

I say my twins are adopted
and came to us at different times,
Waswa when he was three,
Kato when he was seventeen.

Ugandans understand adoption —
twenty five percent of parents die from AIDS.
Surviving family members struggle to provide
for as many as twenty children.

When I return, Waswa says it’s too bad
I wasn’t eaten by a tiger. Kato
comes quietly behind me as I sit
at the computer and gives me a
soft hug.

Bad Government

"We saw these things," Muhammad told us —
"Living babies strapped to the backs of dead mothers
floating down the rivers into Lake Victoria."

He said there were so many bodies
decomposing in the water they couldn’t eat fish
from the lake for three years.

I asked him to explain the genocide.
He said the British put the Hutus into government jobs
and they made the Tusies do menial work.

When the Tusies came to power
they tortured and killed Hutus leaders and their families.
Later another change of power and the Hutus started killing all the Tusies.

It is difficult to understand.

I got to thinking about what governments are supposed to do — keep people safe, provide infrastructure, some sort
of stability, a peaceful process for the transfer of power.
In Africa, Gabril says, the governments don’t do this.

In Africa, the French gave the good jobs to the Hutus
who gave the bad jobs the Tusis who revolted
killing Hutus who revolted killing Tusis
which a Westerner will say proves tribal conflicts
are the source of African brutality

But it sounds like bad government
to me.

©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.


What it is About

Earthfamily Principles

Earthfamilyalpha Content II

Earthfamilyalpha Content