Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness ~ Power & Powerlessness

Dedicated to Marshall Slade Agresto Smith, who killed himself the day after his 22nd birthday. His family includes French, Spanish, Native American and Lebanese blood. The blood of his life is on all of our hands.

suicide, cultural ills, guns, Marshall Smith

Marshall Slade Agresto Smith candlelight vigil dedicated to his life, which he ended with suicide with his own gun.

He was an acquaintance whom i met at the bar where I asked to dj and incorporate my own music with the set. He hung out there from time to time, when he wasn’t working as a chef. Cooking was his passion.

Mashall Slade Agresto Smith

Mashall Slade Agresto Smith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I spoke to him, commenting that the way he dressed, he looked like the carpenter apprentices in Germany who wear a particular uniform and only walk between their apprenticeships, Zimmerman. I couldn’t remember the name, and intended to tell Marshall the next time i saw him.

Zimmerman is a tradition that is hundreds of years old, still practiced in Germany and parts of France.

Zimmerman is a tradition that is hundreds of years old, still practiced in Germany and parts of France.

A Zimmerman is basically a journeyman.

I noticed the last time I saw him to my astonishment that he had a real gun in a holster carried on his belt, hanging at his stomach. He said “yeah, it’s legal here in New Mexico”. Bout a week later, i was swinging by the plaza of Santa Fe coming into town at dusk and saw all these people standing holding candles and ‘CANDELARIOS’ lined up around the center.

Candlelight vigil for Marshall Smith

Candlelight vigil for Marshall Smith

I thought to myself, which tragedy happened now around the world, a new bombing or flight disaster? I approached and tried to see in the darkness the picture setting there. I soon learned that it was a vigil for Marshall, who killed himself several days earlier. The day after his 22nd birthday he shot himself with his won gun. His family stated in the announcement of his obituary, to not let people who drink be near guns, and not let people with guns near alcohol.

I came across this article a few days ago and sensed it that it’s appropriate to the current zeitgeist.

Broken Open, Heidi Barr, grief

Broken Open Heidi Barr on grief

“Politics.  Human decency.  Disrespect for women.  Self hatred.  Governmental control.  Fear. Complacency.  Planetary destruction.  Stealing.   Dishonoring sacred sites.  Destroying nations.  The despair of the poor.   The despair of the rich.  Outrage.  Ignorance.  Brushing it under the rug.  Dishonesty.  Hope.  Hopelessness. Wondering.  Paying the bills.  Running away.  Feeling stuck.

So I don’t think we need more guilt, or rage, or powerlessness.  We surely don’t need more entitlement, self hatred, or shame.   But we do need to grieve that which has been lost, that which has died, that which we or our children will never have, and that which is at this very moment fading away.  Stephen Jenkins says, “Grief requires us to know the time we are in.  We don’t require hope to proceed.  We require grief to proceed.”

Marshall’s one grandfather had been president of a local college, St. Johns. The other, a Native American who’s a fantastic chef, bringing the family together through this ritual and art, which his grandson Marshall adopted with a passion.

I feel that this is representative of a sickness of our culture.

We’re all ‘expected’ – by whom – cultural norms and habitual responses – to conform; i.e. in our economic incentives, the way we dress, the appendages and material possessions we obtain, through the work we do, the way we express ourselves and how we view and even interpret reality. It’s a structural conformity, that filters down to our routines and habits, the ‘weekend’ celebration, the time allotted from our economic machine to gather… otherwise – put your head down and don’t question. French, Ukrainians…question. Americans are severely brainwashed. Noam Chomsky communicated how the media contribute to this structural conformity in Manufacturing Consent. “proposing that the mass communication media of the U.S. are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function, by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion, by means of the propaganda model of communication.”

Suicides, drug addiction are all representative of cultural ills. War is a condoned, anticipated and enculturated norm which is uncanny. War and artillery, weapons and the military industrial complex are viewed through the cloak of nationalism. It is your duty, and is equated with loyalty and honor to your country. I become so disgusted with this that I often feel just disappointment with my fellow man, and have more affection, adoration & praise for other animal & life forms, including plants.

This young man was not a conformist by any means>>>>and our culture screams for conformity. Consumerism overpowers the urge for genuine communication and cooperation. We all quickly assess and judge by clothes. How do you dress? What kind of automobile do you drive? What are these things broadcasting about you? What is your job or profession? How do you make your way in the world to pay for your housing and clothes…so that you have a place to sleep when your weekend respite arrives to spend some time at home enjoying these? We drive by one another insulated in our automobiles or interact while attending an entertainment event which we usually need to pay for. The entertainment standard is something we passively ‘watch’, rather than interactively participate in. I have been viscerally thinking about this and wrote while waiting to attend the ‘visitation’…that I’m disgusted with Marshall’s suicide, feel it is representative of cultural ills – not merely family.

fiery orange sunset

fiery orange sunset

The same day that I walked out of the visitation for Marshal and caught a glimpse of this fiery orange sunset which lingered pink on the horizon as I rode away, I later communicated the circumstances to a friend living in New Mexico who also saw this sunset. She said that just that day she had been reading about the Bridgend suicides, which were this sudden increase in suicides among mostly teenagers and young adults in the last few years in Wales. I found this article about it. The Mystery Suicides of Bridgend county

“The author talks to “cluster suicide” experts…Outbreaks like this are rare but not new…They have happened in Germany, Australia, Japan, the U.S., Canada, and Micronesia…Psychologists familiar with the phenomenon are saying that what’s going on in Wales is a classic case of the Werther effect, named for Goethe’s novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, about a young man who puts a gun to his head to end the agony of unrequited love and because he can’t find his place in the provincial bourgeois society of the day. The novel’s publication, in 1774, prompted young men all over Europe to dress like Werther and take their lives. It’s also called the contagion effect and copycat suicide: one person does it, and that lowers the threshold, making it easier and more permissible for the next…”

“These suicides are a symptom of a deeper societal malaise.”

This was just one individual, yet it prompted me to wonder how common suicides have been in history. It’s something I’ve never really wondered aboutinternational suicide rates. It appeared from my search that this has been on the rise in a number of different countries. I can’t imagine that this was common hundreds of years ago somehow.

International suicide statistics

International suicide statistics

About the same time that this occurred, George Monbiot – an environmental, social, economic and political writer – wrote this blog. “There Is Such a Thing As Society

Why should plagues of mental illness surprise us, in a world being ripped apart?

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 12th October 2016

“What greater indictment of a system could there be than an epidemic of mental illness? Yet plagues of anxiety, stress, depression, social phobia, eating disorders, self-harm and loneliness now strike people down all over the world. The latest, catastrophic figures for children’s mental health in England reflect a global crisis…There are plenty of secondary reasons for this distress, but it seems to me that the underlying cause is everywhere the same. Human beings, the ultrasocial mammals, whose brains are wired to respond to other people, are being peeled apart. Economic and technological change play a major role, but so does ideology.”

“Though our well-being is inextricably linked to the lives of others, everywhere we are told that we will prosper through competitive self-interest and extreme individualism.”

Another article and preview of the film which it refers to also presented itself during these same last few days.
From Brexit to Donald Trump: welcome to the age of hypernormalisation in London

“No one talks about power these days. We are encouraged to see ourselves as free, independent individuals not controlled by anybody, and we despise politicians as corrupt and empty of all ideas…But power is all around us. It’s just that it has shifted and mutated into a massive system of management and control, whose tentacles reach into all parts of our lives. But we can’t see it because we still think of power in the old terms—of politicians telling us what to do.”

Hyper normalization Living in an Unreal World

Hyper normalization Living in an Unreal World

Hyper normalization, film, Adam Curtis

Still from trailer of Hypernormalization film by Adam Curtis

“The aim of the film I have made — HyperNormalisation — is to bring that new power into focus, and show its true dimensions. It ranges from a giant computer high up in the mountains of northeast America that manages and controls over 7 percent of the worlds total wealth, to the complex algorithms that constantly monitor every move and choice you make online- giant computer constantly compares events happening around the world to events in the past. If it sees a dangerous pattern, it immediately adjusts its trillions of dollars to keep things stable. That is real power. The algorithms on social media constantly look at the patterns of what you like and then feed you more of that—so you enter into an echo chamber that constantly feeds you back to you. So again nothing changes—and you learn nothing new that would contradict how you feel. That too is real power.”

In the meantime, Native Americans and a handful of white people are in North Dakota trying to defend their land.

In North Dakota, Dakota Pipeline, protestors, Water Protectors

In North Dakota, the Dakota Pipeline protestors are actually Water Protectors

By the way, I learned the other day from a man I met who had been adopted by a Native American family who is a Native American Literature professor, that in contributing to the writing of the United States Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson was inspired by the Iroquois. The Six Nations: the Oldest Living Participatory Democracy on Earth

“The people of the Six Nations, also known by the French term, Iroquois Confederacy, call themselves the Hau de no sau nee (ho dee noe sho nee) meaning People Building a Long House… The original United States representative democracy, fashioned by such central authors as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, drew much inspiration from this confederacy of nations. Together these peoples comprise the oldest living participatory democracy on earth. Their story, and governance truly based on the consent of the governed, contains a great deal of life-promoting intelligence for those of us not familiar with this area of American history.”

Iroquois, 6-nations, Participatory Democracy

Iroquois 6-nations Oldest Living Participatory-Democracy on Earth

Karl Marx was also influenced by the Iroquois in his political philosophy.

In fact, every kid in school is indoctrinated into this with the daily pledge of allegiance.

United States Declaration of Independence

Second paragraph of the United States Declaration of Independence

And yet, I don’t particularly feel that we are all created equal, especially when those who inspired the declaration are the very people who live in sacrifice zones – A sacrifice zone is a geographic area that has been permanently impaired by environmental damage or economic disinvestment. These zones are most commonly found in low-income and minority communities.

Speaking of Democracy, wikileaks now reveals that it is not ‘we the people’ in a Democracy who vote for our representatives, but in fact just before the last election it was Citibank who were already planning even before Obama was elected, who were going to be taking the top posts in the Federal government. This New Republic describes The Most Important WikiLeaks Revelation Isn’t About Hillary Clinton

What John Podesta’s emails from 2008 reveal about the way power works in the Democratic Party.
BY DAVID DAYEN October 14, 201

“Michael Froman, who is now U.S. trade representative but at the time was an executive at Citigroup, wrote an email to Podesta on October 6, 2008, with the subject “Lists.”

This was October 6. The election was November 4. And yet Froman, an executive at Citigroup, which would ultimately become the recipient of the largest bailout from the federal government during the financial crisis, had mapped out virtually the entire Obama cabinet, a month before votes were counted. And according to the Froman/Podesta emails, lists were floating around even before that.”

 Is Compassion the Antidote to Neoliberalism

Is Compassion the Antidote to Neoliberalism

Meanwhile in his article addressing climate change and the disasters and devastation of the petroleum industries’, Monbiot writes in his blog “What Lies Beneath” – a nice play on words – is as biting and bold as his honest assessments always are.

“All this nonsense is a substitute for a simple proposition: stop digging. There is only one form of carbon capture and storage that is scientifically proven and can be deployed immediately: leaving fossil fuels in the ground.

“Their (governments in the pocket of the oil industry) choices are as follows. 1. a gradual, managed decline of existing production and its replacement with renewable energy and low-carbon infrastructure, which offer great potential for employment. 2. allowing fossil fuel production to continue at current rates for a while longer, followed by a sudden and severe termination of the sector, with dire consequences for both jobs and economies. 3. continuing to produce fossil fuels as we do today, followed by climate breakdown. Why is this a hard choice to make?”

In the meantime,

Great Barrier Reef officially declared Dead after 25 million years

Great Barrier Reef officially declared Dead after 25 million years

The Great Barrier Reef is officially dead: http://www.theearthchild.co.za/great-barrier-reef-officially-declared-dead-25-million-years/

I am in the library with my laptop, the only place to come to, not having residual cash to pay at a cafe to sit and linger in communication with the rest of the world. I’m here among library patrons along with a regular homeless population, of which, I guess i’m sort of one. In Tucson, at the grandiose university student library, there were a lot of homeless people too. There are no places to congregate really, unless you have money to spend. I wish to continue writing blogs and doing the research to complete my book, wish to continue playing bass guitar and piano and composing music with computer programs. I am lost as to how to find an artist residency.

… I entertain myself through learning and reading and doing various creative projects, which except for the tools – is free – all the time and effort put in to it have returns in the delivery of delight and joy gained through doing something. It is empowerment through action, not through consumption.

I have been kicked out of numerous places over the last year; parent’s home in PA, the workaway on a ferry in Brooklyn, my friend’s house in PA, the WWOOF i had arranged in the middle of nowhere in Arizona, and then voluntarily from the place i could no longer afford by paying rent with my credit card…and a few other places among familiar people, because people need their space. In fact there are a lot of quite large homes here in Santa Fe and people with homes left vacant while they live in their other homes….and I now have even more stuff that I’ve aggregated to my side; a suitcase of clothes, my laptop, bass guitar, favorite piano book, camera, now a few more frisbees since I’ve joined in on local ultimate frisbee pickup games in each towns I’ve lived in…and yet am almost homeless again, as I’m living so far up into the hills – literally encroaching on the animal habitats of the animals that have no more space for their own territory to live and survive – that my back is started to feel the weight of carrying everything with me down the hill and then trekking back.

I’m going to attend the debates tonight again in a public forum, just to exchange with people around me in their loathing. I had found a place and exchanged a friendly conversation for almost two hours with the woman with whom i thought we had a lot in common, and she said she had to sleep on it, and then never bothered to call me to say she didn’t want me as a housemate. then i moved to this mountain home guest of a man living alone there whose dog I walk, and the other woman who i was going to move in with and had to wait 2 weeks + to move in, called it off at the last moment, after i’d taken down all my signs, stopped looking for housing. a day before move-in i received an email in blue ink, very comforting looking, saying that she wasn’t moving in. then i had my first day at a job substitute teaching and instead of the principal telling me that it wasn’t going to work while I talked to her about potentially exchanging positions with the music teacher substitute who didn’t know how to read music…didn’t bother to tell me to my face that the job was off, but i found a ‘system response’ later that night. Had i not seen it, i would have gotten up again at 5:30 am to get there. then last night, i went to practice bass with a band, and neither of the guys bothered to phone to tell me that this was off, in fact they were playing earlier together with another guy on bass, when the day before i was trying to arrange an alternative night to accommodate the one guys’ new job.

It appears to me that gay men control the fashion and the art industry and then a small percentage of people control everything else. I’ve put out housing ads, and there have been a few people who randomly contact me with obscure cryptic texts, and then there have been a few men who send me pics, practically sexting, to their abs in pictures.

In the meantime, An eye-opening flight over California’s dying forests
By Kurtis Alexander Updated: August 6, 2016 8:00pm

Dead trees sweeping across the Sierras, California's dying forests

Dead trees sweeping across the Sierras – California’s dying forests

The four crew members were halfway through two weeks of flights over landscapes shifting ominously from green to brown, and already they’d begun to draw their conclusion: The mind-boggling number of trees that have died in California due to drought — an estimated 66 million over five years — is only the beginning.

It’s creeping farther north, and to higher elevations, not only providing tinder for wildfires, but also obstructing the forests’ fundamental ability to provide clean water and absorb carbon dioxide.

All i want is an artist residency where I can physically contribute to learning about and maintaining sustainable living, while also helping to ensure animal habitat conservation. My dream; a community of people contributing this, who are also committed to completing new works on an ongoing basis, the work which blends into education and awareness of the fragile planet and interrelationships that need to be sustained. DOES ANYONE KNOW WHRE THESE EXIST? WITHOUT A WAITING LIST?

guess i'm going to have to adjust the sails

guess i’m going to have to adjust the sails

Le plus dur n’est pas de rêver, mais de ce réveiller

….the most difficult is not to dream, but to wake up…..

Carol Keiter, blogger

Carol Keiter the blogger

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Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music performance and composition

Future Generations: Sorry Prince Ea | Stand for Trees | Severn Suzuki | Anjali Appadurai

I just came across these messages which echo in their empathy for the inhabitants of the earth affected by their environment and for the habitat loss of species; it’s about what we can and must do to actively engage in changes.

Dear Future Generations, Sorry, Prince Ea

Dear Future Generations: Sorry Prince Ea

Prince Ea describes what a future generation may come across, when the Amazon Rain Forest becomes the Amazon desert…or when a tree is a thing of the past, yet stops himself to beckon the audience that it is not too late.

Dear Future Generations, Sorry, Prince Ea, I am not sorry, error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it

He urges to “look at the root, not at the branches of government…..we must globally warm our hearts….If we don’t all work together to save the environment, we will be equally extinct.”

Dear Future Generations: Sorry Prince Ea. If we do nothing, regardless of racism, sexism, inequality... we will be Equally Extinct

Dear Future Generations: Sorry Prince Ea. If we do nothing, regardless of racism, sexism, inequality… we will be Equally Extinct

Prince Ea says he was inspired to write this piece after visiting Africa and witnessing the destruction of the rain forest, where animals are losing their habitat at enormous rates.

And with reference to sorry doesn’t cut it, because we still have a chance to act; he brings up Stand For Trees, what he has chosen as an action to offset carbon.

buy Stand For Trees Certificate, forest communities, specific forest, tonne, CO2, earth's atmosphere.

Every time you buy a Stand For Trees Certificate, you help local forest communities around the world keep a specific forest standing and prevent a tonne of CO2 from entering the earth’s atmosphere.

Stand for Trees certificate

Stand for Trees certificate

Stand for Trees How it Works You Buy a Stand for Trees Certificate, offsetting a 'tonne' of CO2, allowing forest to stand

Stand for Trees How it Works You Buy a Stand for Trees Certificate – offsetting a ‘tonne’ of CO2 – allowing forest to stand

This will naturally help communities living within these local forests to protect and honor their trees and want to maintain the forest as well as maintaining the corridor of land for all the species whose habitat is within these forests.

I came across the speeches of two young girls who had the courage to extend their voice to adults meeting in two separate climate summit events.

One features the Words of Wisdom of the 12 year old girl at the time of here speech in 1992, uploaded April, 2008 onto youtube.

Severn Suzuki, Rio De Janeiro, Earth Summit 1992

Severn Suzuki in Rio De Janeiro Earth Summit 1992

Severn Suzuki was the ‘girl who silenced the world for 5 minutes‘.

I am only a child, and yet I know, that if all of the money that is spent on war, was instead spent on environmental policies, Severne Suzuki girl who silenced the world for 5 minutes. She claimed that her father informed her, “You are not what you say, you are what you do.” She was speaking at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro 1992 – United Nation’s Conference on Environment and Development (1992)

Severn said that her father informed her, “You are not what you say, you are what you do.” Investigating, I found that her father is certainly saying and doing things to inspire us. https://digesthis.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/sustainability-david-suzuki-creative-consciousness-same-name-but-different/

At that time, Severn Suzuki was speaking for (ECO) The Environmental Children’s Organization – which she and several 12 and 13 year old friends started to engage with the world to make a difference. She came 5,000 miles from British Columbia to Rio to tell adults how their actions were causing her to lose her future. “I am only a child, and yet I know, that if all of the money that is spent on war, was instead spent on environmental policies.”

Severn Suzuki, Earth Summit Rio 1992, if money were invested in education, solutions to poverty and environmental devastation,  rather than  war

Severn Suzuki speaking at Earth Summit Rio 1992 if all the money spend on war was spent on ending poverty and finding environmental solutions.

Severn Suzuki grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In her speech she said, “In my country we make so much waste, we buy and throw away, buy and throw away, and yet northern countries will not share with the needy. Even when we have more than enough, we are afraid to lose some of our wealth, afraid to share…

If you don’t know how to fix it, please stop breaking it!”

Here is the full text of Severn Suzuki’s speech at the Earth Summit Conference in Rio, 1992.

She is since married with two children, intent still in making a difference through her education and activism. Think Global Green, listing Facts and Solutions about the environment.

19 years later, another young articulate and bold young woman spoke to a different climate conference, this time the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa in 2011. As a representative of the College of the Atlantic representing the Youth Delegation, Anjali Appadurai urged the dignitaries attending the UN summit for climate justice, demanding them to “Get It Done”!

Anjali Appadurai, Youth Delegation, College of the Atlantic, United Nations Climate Change Conference, Durban, South Africa 2011, Amy Goodman, Democracy Now

Anjali Appadurai, representing the Youth Delegation of the College of the Atlantic speaking to United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa 2011, covered by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now

Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz ~ As an avid blogger who is presently picking up where I left off with my eBook to complete it and and beginning again to compose music, I ask you rather unambiguously and unabashedly to please donate, if you are able. !-))

Carol Keiter the blogger with Tibetan prayer flags, Native American dream catchers and green plants

Carol Keiter the blogger with Tibetan prayer flags, Native American dream catchers and green plants

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U.S. Corpocrisy in Guns: Pros at Cons | This Aint no April Fools |

Or shall I say corpocrazy? While urging stronger gun laws at home, Obama joins the NRA to weaken the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, which is still stalled.

war_is_businessAccording to the latest report on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman, Obama had an emotional plea to congress asking for gun control; making his point that decisive effort must be made to enforce reforms. Yet, the United States has been one of the leading countries to block the United Nation’s attempt to regulate international arms trade. Outside groups such as the National Rifle Association are blocking the attempt to establish an Arms Trade Treaty as well as Iran, Syria and North Korea. So far, the treaty is delayed.

The interest groups that keep the arms trade industry going, are intent on blocking this treaty, whose boundaries between legal and illegal are hazy. Governments would have to authorize certain criteria before exporting materials that can be made into weapons, so that they must document what they intend to export or import. According to Andrew Feistein, the author of “The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade“, the treaty in its current form is relatively weak.

Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address Rocks | They Deserve a Vote

Congratulations once again President Obama on giving a great heartfelt speech. In much of it he addressed the economy in need of repair. He stressed closing the loop holes that people of wealth and power tend to use to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. In much of it he talked about investing in America; in providing pre-school education to all kids across America as well as to offer joint high school and business sponsored technical training, to prepare kids who have received a high school diploma to join the work force. He spoke a lot about rebuilding America, incorporating the same type of public works (WPA) which Roosevelt employed which I alluded to in my blog about Obamaworks Notch Up the Government’s Role with “ObamaWorks” | A Version of Roosevelt’s WPA | to bring the country out of recession and ensure a stronger economy, by rebuilding the infrastructure to attract companies here. He spoke again of offering tax incentives to companies to keep their plants here on U.S. soil, to employ Americans; saying that for the first time Apple will be building its products here in the United States.

Barack Obama as usual, gave a flawless speech; fluid and candid. If he does use a teleprompter, I never see his eyes flickering to read from it. He definitely has a strong intellect and integrity of word. I simply ‘believe him’.

His reasoning was sound, if you invest in education and the infrastructure to lay a foundation for bringing more opportunities, then the children growing up here will make more educated and intelligent choices, resulting in fewer teen pregnancies and less violence (stemming from the rift between the haves and the have nots). He talked about more transparency in general. And of reforming the U.S. voting procedure; starting with a bi-partisan group to oversee this, so that people (like the 102 year old woman from Florida sitting in his audience) won’t have to wait for 6 hours in line to vote, as she had done in order to ensure that her voice would be heard.

Finally, he ushered in the topic of gun violence; regarding increasing the back ground checks, limiting the amount of assault weapons and ammunition magazines. President Obama had a number of people in the audience who were direct and indirect victims of this violence. He ended his speech with the powerful and emotional words imploring both parties to vote on this issue, echoing the words ‘they deserve a vote’. In fact, much of his speech talked about the importance of thinking beyond one’s own immediate, personal wants and needs; thinking of the larger picture and doing things for the benefit of the whole.

Gabrielle (Gabby) Giffords, a U.S. Representative, attended the event with her husband. She was among eighteen other shooting victims at a public political event in which six people died. A mentally ill individual whose aim was to assassinate Giffords, shot her at close range in the head, managed to acquire a weapon.
Democracy_Now_feat_President_Obama_They_Deserve_a_Vote

Gabby_Giffords_State_of_the_Union_Address
Amy Goodman of Democracy Now interviews Cathy Cohen, founder of the Black Youth Project in Chicago, regarding gun violence.

Hadiya Pendleton was shot in a park in Chicago, a victim of a stray bullet by gang gun violence. She had performed as a majorette with her group for Obama’s 2nd Inauguration just a week before her death.
Hadiya_Pendleton_15year_old_Chicago_girl_caught_in_gang_gun_crossfire

Deafening Silence on Climate issue in U.S. Presidential Debates

There was no mention of the ‘climate’ issue by the U.S. presidential candidates nor their moderators, nor the media, during the debates.

Links re: mainstream media and political candidates not speaking about the climate

Amy Goodman on Democracy Now has featured Bill McKibben – founder of 350.org – (on the ppm of carbon dioxide acceptable in the atmosphere) .Bill McKibben was one of the featured speakers on Democracy Now, regarding the lack of anyone’s mention of the climate.

McKibben is staging a new tour in November of 2012 to inform the public about the terrifying math corresponding with the climate crisis. http://math.350.org/

More recently, Amy Goodman has featured Noam Chomsky on her program, discussing what topics were glossed over on the presidential debates.

As well, a recent tomdispatch blog features Rebecca Solnit writing about climate and the fact that it was not discussed whatsoever in the presidential debates.

Rebecca Solnit mentions that basically both candidates are keeping their mouths shut “After all, we made it through four “debates” with 60 million or more viewers each, and not a single one of the four moderators asked a question about climate change, nor did a presidential or vice-presidential candidate let the phrase pass his lips or bring the subject up.” I presume that they’re whipped by the corporate powers that feature the U.S. Government and the media. “Hundreds of thousands of words on events in Benghazi, Libya, and just that one sarcastic sentence on climate change. Someday people will surely look back on this election season with a kind of nightmarish wonder at the fear and denial our leading politicians (who knew better) exhibited in the face of the power and financial clout

of the

energy industry

and its lobbyists.”

America in Decline: Built Through a Series of “Great Steals” | written by Louie Davis June, 26 1988 for his ElderHostel students |

I was recently introduced to the following paper, written by Louie Davis for his “Elder Hostel” students on June 26th,1988. Elderhostel  – now called “Road Scholars”  http://www.roadscholar.org/ – provides continued ‘travel education’, offering a wide range of subjects and geographical areas. (It could be that these travel educational voyages are a bit similar to the new trend of expeditionary, as opposed to classroom learning https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/hitchabout-san-francisco_expeditionary_learning). My parents participated numerous times through the years with courses on various subjects, which they’ve valued greatly. It was pointed out to me how strikingly relevant the content of Davis’s paper is, considering it was written in 1988, because many of the issues are facing all of us currently. Davis writes about the decline of the U.S., and the ways in which America rose to power through a series of “Great Steals”. He wrote about issues which he’d researched thoroughly, providing accurate and frighteningly prescient details. He describes problematic situations which were recognized then, which ironically affect our contemporary population now in 2012, and the various mechanisms people (still use) to avoid dealing with an issue. I believe it would be worth everyone’s time to read this, particularly as a presidential election hovers before us. I have typed his paper word-for-word, with the addition of a comma here and there.

Due to the fact that our American two-party system is buttressed by corporate interests and lobbying groups, with each continually rivaling each other, this system continually obstructs progress and any chance of moving in ‘healthy’ directions. I propose developing a (non-partisan) international panel, to oversee with ‘checks and balances’, programs and operations taking place globally. This would be instituted to hold all nations, and their citizens, accountable for shifting production towards building renewable energy and facilitating jobs which move the world in the direction delineated by Davis at the conclusion of his paper. Ironically, this idea was already created, it’s called the United Nations. However, it has become clear that the UN is by no means an egalitarian organization, equally representing each of the different member countries. Rather, it tilts towards the weight of those countries with more wealth and power. Is a non-partisan, incorruptible panel – not tainted by the pressure of corporate greed – possible? Please let me know.

Louie Davis’s letter June, 26 1988:

Dear ElderHostlers,

I received so many expressions of regret that I did not get to finish what I had to say in that last class about current events and the “Relative” Decline of the U.S., that I thought that I would take a few moments to outline my thoughts on that subject.

I do indeed believe that the nation is going into (already in) a decline, relative or not. The following remarks will indicate why I think that we are going into a decline and why I am pessimistic about our ability to reverse it.

I have sometimes characterized the wealth of our nation as being derived from a number of “Great Steals”.

The first Great Steal was the taking, with near genocidal action, of the land from the Indians. I have however been happy that I was not born south of the Rio Grande where the killing of the native population was so much greater, at least in the early years of Spanish rule.

The second Great Steal was the way in which farming methods developed that rapidly destroyed the productivity of the land. Almost simultaneously with the destruction of the land in the eastern colonies was the stealing of black labor from their homelands in Africa. Of course as one studies the history of farming in the USA, one finds that it was not until the dawning of this century that any thought at all was given to conservation of land, and certainly not forest lands. The people of South America, and elsewhere, who are now engaged in the rapid destruction of the rain forests, have a good example through the actions of their earlier North American neighbors.

When I was a CCC boy in Kansas (’36 to ’39), we were facing the destruction of the “bread basket of the world” by dust storms. We, the CCC boys, planted millions of trees along roads and field boundaries to slow down that destruction by providing wind breaks. Those wind breaks have now been largely cut down and plowed up to provide ever larger fields for ever heavier machinery, as ever larger corporations acquired the land for giant nonoculture farming [According to wikipedia; nonoculture is an ecological environment lacking in biodiversity or foundation species, defined as a bastardization of the word monoculture.]  (P.S. The dust is blowing again).

Right now the great Ogallalah aquifer, in Kansas and Nebraska, is on the way to being pumped dry to provide water to support corn farming, which supports giant beef growing operations. Which incidentally cause massive pollution of the rivers. The game, and point of discussion, in places like the Kansas legislature is how to so control the drilling of additional wells to make sure that those who have already invested large sums in such operations, recover their investment by the time the water runs out and forces the farms back to dryland wheat farming.  

This raping of the land was not confined to farmland. The forests were first burned to provide open land to farm between the Great Plains and the Atlantic. With the expanding population, whole states were clear cut and then fires raged uncontrolled, sweeping over vast areas.

As I mentioned, during the Civil war, skills were developed that provided the know how necessary to organize great operations. Those operations were geared to make money by the fastest possible way. The heads of those operations are commonly called “Robber Barons”.

The U.S. became a nation based on the consumption of raw material. During that time, a practice which haunts us even today in the setting of railroad tariffs, came into being. In order to aid the extractive industries, the cost of shipping raw materials, was (and still is) set lower than the cost of shipping finished materials. Today that practice mitigates against the use of recycled materials. The last time I checked, raw sand for bottle factories could be shipped more cheaply than crushed bottles.

The Third Great Steal is being practiced today on a scale too great for most of us to comprehend even if we wanted to do so. The third great steal is very simple: we are stealing the future of our children and grandchildren. In order to pay for the material things for which we have so much desire, and the military buildup that we are told that we must have, we are finding ourselves in the ultimately destructive position of selling the real estate and securities of the U.S.A. to foreign investors. That which we do not sell immediately, is in a great sense mortgaged.

I have read that one securities house in Japan now holds one third of the debt of the US federal government. (At this point let me urge you to read a fiction story called “The Panic of ’89” by Erdman. It will grab you.) One of the reasons that the U.S.A. is hated by the Central Americans is that they were held in commercial fiefdomship by American companies such as United Fruit. In much the same way, we are already beginning to hate Japan, but we owe our souls to the company (Japanese) store.

One has only to look at the sad state of American manufacturing to note the real effects of our decline. Not only are many countries producing goods cheaper than we are, but they are also producing them better. Even if Japanese cars are produced in the U.S.A., they are perceived to be better built than identical ones bearing American names, built in the same factory, which will sell in the U.S. for higher prices than the identical American named models. In a high tech business, American computer chip manufacturing companies complained that Japanese companies were dumping chips in the U.S. at unreasonably low prices. So an anti-dumping order was promulgated. The prices were trebled and the result was that the American companies could not match the import quality, and right now there is a shortage of those chips on the American market awaiting better American quality.

Much of the blame for such troubles can be laid at the door of American CEO’s. For example, GE got out of many engineering and manufacturing businesses because Jack Welch said “that is not the kind of business I want to be in”. In the process, he laid off 132,000 employees and became a giant financial, insurance and leasing operation. (Perhaps I should note: he laid off 131,999 and me.) During that time GE was paying no federal taxes. Reagan believed lowering taxes on giant corporations would give them resources to generate new products and hire more employees.

It is easy for us to look back and note the destruction of the environment by our forebears. The present destruction that is going on is viewed in a number of ways.

Way 1) It is not happening, at least we must do a few years and a few million (or more) dollars of scientific research to prove that it is going on. The damage to our environment due to acid rain is a case in point. The Reagan administration has steadfastly refused to acknowledge that acid rain is harming our environment. Years ago even when I was in high school, I was taught that the man-made acid in the rain was a recognized destroyer of marble art works and of limestone buildings and structures such as bridges.

Way 2) It is just a theory. For years, scientists have been concerned about the so called “greenhouse effect” that quite likely will destroy the climate as we know it. The problem here, is that we all are the problem and we can not bear to blame ourselves. We cannot blame the problem on a set of robber barons, they merely supply us with the things we want, which either burn fossil fuels or were manufactured by the use of fossil fuels. Scientists are getting more positive with every passing month that we are moving into the opening years of the “greenhouse effect”. I have recently read that, yes indeed, the ocean is starting to rise, the glaciers are receding and the world wide data on temperature indicates that 1987 was a record setter for being a warm earth. Indications are that the decade of the 1980’s may well be the hottest decade on record.

The problem is that the green house effect is the result of the dumping of billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The varying concentration of carbon dioxide is a much easier thing to measure than the change in temperature of the earth. Of course, there are those who will argue that the case is not yet certain. Perhaps the oceans will suddenly develop a greater capability of absorbing the excess carbon dioxide than it seems to have.

How great a risk do we want to take that our great Midwest will turn into a desert and prime farm land will be pushed north into Canada and the USSR?

Should we be starting NOW to develop sustainable, renewable energy supplies?

Way 3) We think it is happening. A corollary to the green house effect is the loss of the ozone layer. The ozone layer is necessary to absorb the ultra violet light radiated by the sun, before it strikes the surface of the earth. There has been a lot of talk about the danger to humans from skin cancer due to the extra UV in the sun if the ozone layer is badly depleted. There has been little talk of the greater threat to non human forms of life, both plant and animal. How will we screen the UV from the fields of plants that are the primary source of our food? The problem is that we want the things that the CFC’s are used in, such as air conditioners, or to help to make such items as foam food trays at the butcher shop. Since the chlorine in the CFC’s act as catalyst to break down the ozone, the amount of chlorine already in the stratosphere will stay there for many years destroying the ozone. Only time will tell how close to the brink, or how far over the brink we already are.

I hope that the U.S.A. will see the giant problems facing us in the present and near future and once again call upon sufficient organizational skills, finances and engineering genius to stave off the really grim elements of the future and again demonstrate that we are and can be #1.

CONCLUSION:

WE MUST START THE EDUCATIONAL STEPS IN THE SCHOOLS, IN THE UNIVERSITIES AND IN THE MEDIA TO RE-EDUCATE THE AVERAGE AMERICAN THAT WE CAN AND MUST BECOME TECHNOLOGICALLY COMPETITIVE IN MANUFACTURING.

WE MUST ELIMINATE TO A VERY GREAT EXTENT THE USE OF FOSSIL FUELS.

WE MUST START NOW MANUFACTURING AND PUTTING IN PLACE SOLAR, WIND, LOW HEAD HYDRO, PASSIVE HEATING AND COOLING, HIGHER EFFICIENCY IN ALL OF OUR MACHINERY, APPLIANCES, CARS, HOMES, OFFICES, ETC.

Question:

How can a nation burdened with a backbreaking debt, both public and private, hope to turn the situation around? Being by nature a pessimist, unless I see some reason for hope, I doubt that we can avoid a continual decline into disaster. I am not at all convinced that a nation which prides itself on never responding until a full blown crisis has developed, can make the adjustments to move back into the position of leadership which we have enjoyed. I doubt that we will be able to so change our habits and our lives [in order to] avoid the natural disasters which the U.S.A., with it’s unlimited appetite for an easy good life, always taking the quick way to self gratification has/will help to bring on. I see no indication in the attitude of our voters that we will ever vote in a government that can call a spade a spade and get the unified support of the people.

In closing, I would appreciate rebuttals, additions, comments, praises or condemnations from all who have had the patience to read this through.





-.-.-.–.-.- End to Louie Davis’s letter June, 26 1988 -.-.-.-.-.-.-
Green Machine
Those Who Don’t Learn from History are Destined to Repeat It

350.org attempt to educate people presently, about the need to reduce the number of particles per million of CO2 to 350 million.

Here’s an article that I was just alerted to, regarding tapping into offshore wind turbines to power the East coast. http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/15/13864179-power-east-coast-via-wind-doable-with-144000-offshore-turbines-study-says “There’s zero fuel costs once they’re in the water,” he said. “Coal and gas are depletable resources, so their cost will inevitably go up over time. The cost of wind energy will remain stable, and the wind resource is infinite.”

United States of Amnesia

Gun Violence in America | Sponsored by Hollywood Ills | Sensationalized in News Media

Several days ago there was the case of a bright, witty and caring 17 year guy shot several times and killed by his 72 year old grandmother,with her automatic weapon. In a separate incident, an emotionally sick individual (ironically who had studied the biological origins of neurological and brain disorders) open fired in the packed midnight screening of the Batman sequel “Dark Night Rises”, living out his fantasy, and getting a hell of a lot of media attention for his, in Obama’s words, heinous act. All of this points to the absurd availability of guns, and with their accessibility, how ridiculously simple it is for an individual to, in a matter of seconds, pull a trigger and end someone’s life. Let’s wake up AmeriKa. As written in this New York Times article, “Once again, with a squeeze of a trigger, just 20 miles from Columbine High School, scene of the 1999 student massacre, the nation was plunged into another debate about guns and violence. He had purchased four guns at local gun shops.” Read more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/21/us/shooting-at-colorado-theater-showing-batman-movie.html This is not about the right to carry a weapon, we aren’t living in the Wild West. We already slaughtered the Native American Indians with our weapons 200 years ago. This is not about the ‘right’ to bear arms, it is about the absurdity of thinking that one ‘needs’ to bear arms. We need to rethink, educate and really rock the boat in a different direction. Obama’s message of valuing life and acknowledging your blessings, could not have been a better response. This isn’t about the enemy and evil empires (Bush’s response to 911), this is about what this empire has spun and created. Now it’s time to start gracefully taking a dramatically different stance. Respecting life, respecting one another. War is a crime. Battles between gangsters is a crime. Intolerance is a crime. Anything can become a weapon, even something healthy, food, can be used for toxicity rather than nutrition, but that doesn’t imply that it’s okay to mass market extremely unhealthy food, nor mass market extremely dangerous weapons. Eyes wide shut with the gun lobby greed, let’s wake up and get our priorities straight!

Though this report took place soon after the incident, at which time Amy Goodman had not had a lot of information, it nevertheless approaches the subject of the endemic gun violence in the United States. She interviews Mary Kershner, a registered nurse, gun control advocate, and founding member of Nurses Advocating Gun Safety, speaking from Denver, Colorado. http://www.democracynow.org/2012/7/20/denver_shooting_rampage_leaves_12_dead Ironically, the Gun Show will be taking place in Colorado in the next weeks.

Here’s a more recent interview on Democracy Now with Colin Goddard, a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting who was shot 4 times, and is now an active participant with the Brady Campaign to prevent gun violence.

And well, what’s more poignant than this /-)) http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-july-23-2012/aurora—gun-control

Here’s a more recent article in the New York Times, “Military Suicides Rising a Focus on Private Weapons” discussing the rate of suicides among soldiers, and the fact that they are predominantly occurring with the individual’s private fire arm. “According to Defense Department statistics, more than 6 of 10 military suicides are by firearms, with nearly half involving privately owned guns. In the civilian population, guns are also the most common method of suicide among young males, though at a somewhat lower rate. When active-duty troops who live on bases or are deployed are identified as potentially suicidal, commanders typically take away their military firearms. But commanders do not have that authority with private firearms kept off base.”

| Yes Lab | report on Clowns attacking Wall Street Bull

Speaking of masks and clowns, here they are engaged in political activism in NYC !-))

http://www.yeslab.org/bull
CLOWNS ARRESTED IN NEAR-SUCCESSFUL ATTACK ON WALL STREET BULL
Matador, bull both survive to fight another day

Photos and video: http://www.yeslab.org/bull

A small group of Occupy Wall Street activists engaged in a near-successful corrida against the Wall Street Bull.

The incident began when two clowns, Hannah Morgan and Louis Jargow, scaled the steel barricades protecting the landmark. The clowns began spanking and climbing the beast as well as playing the harmonica, traditional ways of coaxing a bull into anger in preparation for a Castilian corrida, or bullfight.

Within seconds, police officers grabbed both clowns by their colorful shirts and wrestled one of them (Jargow) to the ground. The other (Morgan) continued to play the harmonica until an officer removed it from her mouth.

With the officers thus occupied, a matador in full traje de luces leapt onto the hood of the patrol vehicle parked in front of the bull and boldly presented his blood-red cape to the beast.

“I wondered whether I, neophyte matador, could bring down this behemoth, world-famous for charging towards profit while trampling underfoot the average worker,” said the OWS activist/torero whose first fight this was. “Come what may, I knew I must try.”

Police officers took no notice of the matador, occupied as they were with the clowns.

“This bull has ruined millions of lives!” wailed clown Jargow as he lay on the ground face-down. “Yet he and his accomplices have been rewarded with billions of our tax dollars—and we, here to put a stop to it all, are thrown to the ground. ¡Un escándalo!”

Both clowns were charged with disorderly conduct and released an hour later; they returned to Zuccotti Park to great fanfare. The Wall Street bull continues to rage.

This is a nice pick, the angle taken:

http://www.yeslab.org/bull#photos

Meanwhile across the United States

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/18/us/occupy-protests-across-the-country

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/11/17/occupy_wall_streets_national_day_action