Sunday, May 23, 2010

War Exists for a Reason: Don't Fight It

War Exists for a Reason: Don't Fight It. Instead Focus on being the Change...

I recently was browsing the AVAAZ website/blog and I found something about the endless war in the Middle East: "Mid-East Peace: The Real Story."

So just what is the real story anyhow? For me it is a story of people making a problem bigger by getting their nose in something that is really not their business. I think by our actions of making this local issue a global one we actually magnify the potential of this problem so that it is now much greater than it would otherwise be, had we not had so many years of peace efforts, news reports, talks and envoys. Yes I am concerned about Mid-East peace, but my thought is that peace should be a process of encouraging people to evolve towards a higher consciousness way of dealing with life. So how can you be for peace when their is no inner peace inside of you - when you are like a cork that is ready to be popped?

Peace is not something we can buy at the store or the so called marketplace of ideas if we save up enough money. Maybe praying helps but it is really about human consciousness and our ability to transcend the caveman reality of pounding someone into the ground who we disagree with.

Indeed how do we as the supposed peacemakers come to grips with the reality that majority of the world's people regardless of what they say or have said in the past do not want peace.

Because peace is not a political/intellectual statement or slogan, it is a spiritual commitment that you can only build within your heart. However, we have been taught to see it in political terms and thus we constantly put the cart before the horse in terms of trying to force peace on a humanity that is not ready to live in a peaceful way.

Pragmatically we have struggled with this in the sense of trying frantically to make people understand the importance of peace and yet we do this as we struggle as human beings in considering how we might act if someone forces us out of our peaceful mode by their belligerent actions.

War exists for a reason and it has a vital necessity in our lives (I am speaking collectively in relation to the shared human reality), because we have given and continue to give it that power in our lives. Until we can persuasively make the case for another alternative model of living and thinking and being, we cannot expect there to be real change in the status quo. Having said that, we need to use the political mechanisms as best we can to make our dedication to a peaceful life and perspective - a more common approach to the world's conflicts. So how do we rethink current progressive approaches to social change, sustainable development and peace-building...because they don't appear to be really working towards the change we are seeking in our lives.

Thanks to all of you for the effort and good intent in helping us to overcome the madness of current nonfunctional/dysfunctional public policies at the international level that only fuel misunderstanding, resentment and WAR.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Lucrative Race to Arm the ProGun Right

For those of you who think we are not moving towards some battle in the USA take a look at this:

Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Organic Foods Exposed"

An Australian magazine called Cosmos recently published an article titled "Organic Food Exposed" [Issue 16 of Cosmos, August 2007] by Elizabeth Finkel.

Finkel makes some good points about organics, admittedly, but the core premise is fundamentally flawed because it tries to lead us to the conclusion that we do not need to rethink how our food is produced by large agribusiness companies. She uses a host of conventional thinkers to make those points such as Bruce Aimes and Norman Borlaug. David Pimental is another reference she uses but he of course is well known for questions the viability of industrial farming and in particular about the ability of biofuels like ethanol to be used as a replacement for fossil fuels and a robust debated has emerged about this.

Borlaug on the other hand is being discredited by many who increasingly see his policies to feed a hungry world as leading to many unsustainable policies that are now evident in places like India where irrigation of monocultures is no longer viable due to depletion of the water supplies. So the major problem with industrial agriculture is that it relies on unsustainable supplies of surface and subsurface water that are being depleted on mass scale in many parts of the world.

There is a debate about whether organics is relevant or not. This is part of a larger campaign on the part of establishment thinkers all over the world and the English speaking world in particular to render the movement to challenge conventional modern thinking. Finkel is selective though in accepting the issues of the environmental and social justice movement in terms of challenging prevailing assumptions of reality, for example she accepts the problem of meat eating as a major cause of the global ecological challenge that we face, and yet she attempts to discredit organics on the whole.

Yet there are legitimate concerns about the industrialization of our food supply and indeed our lives in general and these go much deeper than whether or not pesticides should be used. They relate to the way in which we have modified nature, created the modern built environment and production system which under-grid our modern lives.

The real question is whether we should accept business as usual or whether we need to fundamentally rethink modernism under capitalism? This is what the organics movement has attempted to do although it has recently being in many respects co-opted by capitalism with the take over of many rapidly growing companies by larger food conglomerates. A holistic view is needed to understand the context of the organics movement in relation to a large effort to rethink our modern lives and move towards a comprehensive approach to sustainable development.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Whats Missing in Current Health Care Legislation?

It is time we take action on real solutions to health that include the development of a comprehensive health care policy. I would include this to be the development of a clear map towards savings that accrue to the economy as a result of these reforms. The fact that this is so lacking makes me believe that the health care approach is not really comprehensive. Yet I feel this is the best we can get now due to the huge array of corporate interests arrayed against the kind of common sense, people first policies that we need to put to ensure adequate and also low cost health care for all.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Questions about Obama and Co's "Interventionist" Strategy

In terms of my previous work with regards to Obama's mistake is compromising the economic status quo players....

We can see that Bernanke is definitely deserving of an A for effort in terms of avoiding the mistakes the policymakers supposedly made before and during the great depression.

However what if the kinds of approaches that might have worked then won't work or don't apply here? What if we are dealing with something much deeper than as an issue of a housing bubble that has infected the financial sector?

What they are basically is that they have to pursue Fed credit policies contrary to what people have been educated to see as normal reason and logical judgment in terms of the role of government. This is of course be very much contrary to conventional wisdom about the state of the economy. The idea of a president ejecting a CEO of one of the largest American corporation just shows how far things slipped in a very short period of time.

While it is good to see that on some level Bernanke has some concerns about possibly a deeper problem, on the public level at least he seems to give little indication that he sees a problem on a fundamental level such as relating to the distorted dynamics of the national economy and unsustainable indebtedness of the world's lone superpower.

The Fed's powers are limited because it is long term economic policies put in place neoclassical economists that's the ultimate cause for America's economic malaise. This led to the shift towards debt spending to finance American's economic prosperity and a focus on short term individual gain for a very rich few over the long term economic security of the vast majority.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Obama's Admin Leans toward Agribusiness & GMOs

More news on Obama admin.

Tom Visack is now in line to be Obama's Secretary of Agriculture - Despite strong opposition from progressives in the sustainability and agriculture communities.

The former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack it is claimed by these groups to have actively supported genetically engineered crops and is not a friend to organic gardeners.
Rather they claim he is a friend to the Monsanto, which vigorously promotes
genetic engineering and viciously opposes (not an exaggeration) labeling it.

You can sign this petition to try to block his confirmation and pass this along to all your friends.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Birthday, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

On Dec 11, Ben de Vries sent me an email with the subject: Happy Birthday, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

First he asked that we take a look at the Wikipedia page on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Then he noted that the UN has stated that this is "not a legally enforceable device".

The he asked us to ponder what that actually means and why it is that way.

The UDHC is not a legally enforceable device on the surface because many of the UN members themselves are human rights viotators, including many of those western nations who most sanction human rights and may appear on the surface to support them in their own societies.

Indeed nation states reserve the right to abuse the human rights of their citizens if the citizens get too extreme in their notion of democracy. For example the Trilateral Commission an influential groups of elites from Europe, USA and Japan in the 70s said that there was "too much democracy" in many western nations and that there was a need to put forward "reforms" in these societies that would "moderate the democracy."

Hence we got the center right think tanks like AEI and Heritage Institute that put forward those reforms by cleverly playing into the irrational concerns of those of the right. They learned from the successful grassroots efforts of the left during the sixties to reverse that momentum all the while the leadership of the Left was incorporated into the system to become Clinton/Obama/Yuppie liberals - the Harvard/Princeton/Yale/Brown/Columbia/MIT/Stanford/etc... educated intellectual elite that believes only it has the right to govern.

Getting back to the global aspect of this. National secutity and protection of elite interest to maintain and govern trumps the public and invidual rights to automony and self-governance.

Thus if the "strategy of first consent" ( does not work the strategy of "second consent" is to use physical force to pacify the public. For PR purposes it is always better for elites to focus on governance through the first because the illusion of democracy in a nation state can better be maintained.

The illusion of democracy is often used to build leverage against nations in the world stage that are not sophisticated to enact these kind of superficial democracy reforms that are basically spectator democracies. That is the idea that the nation state as it has evolved to become a modern mega state is not really designed to be accountable to the general public.

So the reality is that real reforms in global governance is not a peicemeal approach, it is something holistic that can consider the kind of issues we talked about the Global Summit and also makes the governance system real from the inside out. Ecological, degradation, economic injustice and inequality, lack of adequate health care and education, adequate social safety net for all citizens as well as human rights and authentic democratic process, all figure in this more holistic approach.

Without considering all of the above a society or world is not really truly considering what needs to be done in terms of promoting and forwarding humans rights among its people. Thus all this really becomes is lip service to values and indeed is a PR event that makes us feel better in supporting but in truth achieves little and that in a nut shell describes the impotence and stagnacy that the UN forwards on the world stage.

A Fundamental Cognitive Shift in how we see ourselves in the Universe

Ben de Vries says that what we need is a fundamental cognitive shift: Clay Shirky (16:20)

This is about specific corporate strategy in manufacturing consent:

If you must section for time, read 'excluding diverging voices'. Freedom of speech, yes, but who is listening? Nestle is only an example in this reading. Think in strategic and tactical terms.
Way back when, Timothy Leary was still physically present, at least in one piece, (he was the first person to attempt to have his personality transcribed into a virtual one, but I couldn't find him to ask him about it, maybe he is busy...) he opined this concept:

This may resonate with some of you. I know it does with me. Again, like so many works, I find myself having to peel off the fairy tale layer to get at the meaning. In appreciation of dramatic art, there is the 'temporary suspension of disbelief'.

This might leave you feeling like you are playing out one of the roles in this piece: . If one takes out the obvious judeao-xtian symbolism, and tries to see it on it's own merits, what do you see?

There's an interactive section on the Obama Transition Team website called Join the Discussion. The current question posed by the Transition team is, What social causes and service organizations are you a part of that make a difference in your community?

It's a great opportunity to bring some of the amazing ideas in our communities to a larger, potentially national audience.

Evo Morales on Climate Change: 'Save the Planet from Capitalism'

By Evo Morales Ayma, President of Bolivia

November 28, 2008 -- Sisters and brothers, today our Mother Earth is ill. From the beginning of the 21st century we have lived the hottest years of the last thousand years. Global warming is generating abrupt changes in the weather: the retreat of glaciers and the decrease of the polar ice caps; the increase of the sea level and the flooding of coastal areas, where approximately 60% of the world population live; the increase in the processes of desertification and the decrease of fresh water sources; a higher frequency in natural disasters that the communities of the earth suffer[1]; the extinction of animal and plant species; and the spread of diseases in areas that before were free from those diseases.

One of the most tragic consequences of the climate change is that some nations and territories are the condemned to disappear by the increase of the sea level.

Everything began with the industrial revolution in 1750, which gave birth to the capitalist system. In two and a half centuries, the so called “developed” countries have consumed a large part of the fossil fuels created over five million centuries.


Competition and the thirst for profit without limits of the capitalist system are destroying the planet. Under Capitalism we are not human beings but consumers. Under Capitalism Mother Earth does not exist, instead there are raw materials. Capitalism is the source of the asymmetries and imbalances in the world. It generates luxury, ostentation and waste for a few, while millions in the world die from hunger in the world. In the hands of capitalism everything becomes a commodity: the water, the soil, the human genome, the ancestral cultures, justice, ethics, death … and life itself. Everything, absolutely everything, can be bought and sold and under capitalism. And even “climate change” itself has become a business.

“Climate change” has placed all humankind before a great choice: to continue in the ways of capitalism and death, or to start down the path of harmony with nature and respect for life.

In the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the developed countries and economies in transition committed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 5% below the 1990 levels, through the implementation of different mechanisms among which market mechanisms predominate.

Until 2006, greenhouse effect gases, far from being reduced, have increased by 9.1% in relation to the 1990 levels, demonstrating also in this way the breach of commitments by the developed countries.

The market mechanisms applied in the developing countries[2] have not accomplished a significant reduction of greenhouse effect gas emissions.

Just as well as the market is incapable of regulating global financial and productive system, the market is unable to regulate greenhouse effect gas emissions and will only generate a big business for financial agents and major corporations.

The Earth is much more important than the stock exchanges of Wall Street and the world

While the United States and the European Union allocate $4100 billion to save the bankers from a financial crisis that they themselves have caused, programs on climate change get 313 times less, that is to say, only $13 billion.

The resources for climate change are unfairly distributed. More resources are directed to reduce emissions (mitigation) and less to reduce the effects of climate change that all the countries suffer (adaptation) [3]. The vast majority of resources flow to those countries that have contaminated the most, and not to the countries where we have preserved the environment most. Around 80% of the Clean Development Mechanism projects are concentrated in four emerging countries.

Capitalist logic promotes a paradox in which the sectors that have contributed the most to deterioration of the environment are those that benefit the most from climate change programs.

At the same time, technology transfer and the financing for clean and sustainable development of the countries of the South have remained just speeches.

The next summit on climate change in Copenhagen must allow us to make a leap forward if we want to save Mother Earth and humanity. For that purpose the following proposals for the process from Poznan to Copenhagen:

Attack the structural causes of climate change

1) Debate the structural causes of climate change. As long as we do not change the capitalist system for a system based in complementarity, solidarity and harmony between the people and nature, the measures that we adopt will be palliatives that will limited and precarious in character. For us, what has failed is the model of “living better”, of unlimited development, industrialisation without frontiers, of modernity that deprecates history, of increasing accumulation of goods at the expense of others and nature. For that reason we promote the idea of Living Well, in harmony with other human beings and with our Mother Earth.

2) Developed countries need to control their patterns of consumption -- of luxury and waste -- especially the excessive consumption of fossil fuels. Subsidies of fossil fuel, that reach $150-250 billion[4], must be progressively eliminated. It is fundamental to develop alternative forms of power, such as solar, geothermal, wind and hydroelectric both at small and medium scales.

3) Agrofuels are not an alternative, because they put the production of foodstuffs for transport before the production of food for human beings. Agrofuels expand the agricultural frontier destroying forests and biodiversity, generate monocropping, promote land concentration, deteriorate soils, exhaust water sources, contribute to rises in food prices and, in many cases, result in more consumption of more energy than is produced.

Substantial commitments to emissions reduction that are met

4) Strict fulfilment by 2012 of the commitments[ 5] of the developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least by 5% below the 1990 levels. It is unacceptable that the countries that polluted the planet throughout the course of history make statements about larger reductions in the future while not complying with their present commitments.

5) Establish new minimum commitments for the developed countries of greenhouse gas emission reduction of 40% by 2020 and 90% by for 2050, taking as a starting point 1990 emission levels. These minimum commitments must be met internally in developed countries and not through flexible market mechanisms that allow for the purchase of certified emissions reduction certificates to continue polluting in their own country.

Likewise, monitoring mechanisms must be established for the measuring, reporting and verifying that are transparent and accessible to the public, to guarantee the compliance of commitments.

6) Developing countries not responsible for the historical pollution must preserve the necessary space to implement an alternative and sustainable form of development that does not repeat the mistakes of savage industrialisation that has brought us to the current situation. To ensure this process, developing countries need, as a prerequisite, finance and technology transfer.

Address ecological debt

7) Acknowledging the historical ecological debt that they owe to the planet, developed countries must create an Integral Financial Mechanism to support developing countries in: implementation of their plans and programs for adaptation to and mitigation of climate change; the innovation, development and transfer of technology; in the preservation and improvement of the sinks and reservoirs; response actions to the serious natural disasters caused by climate change; and the carrying out of sustainable and eco-friendly development plans.

8) This Integral Financial Mechanism, in order to be effective, must count on a contribution of at least 1% of the GDP in developed countries[6] and other contributions from taxes on oil and gas, financial transactions, sea and air transport, and the profits of transnational companies.

9) Contributions from developed countries must be additional to Official Development Assistance (ODA), bilateral aid or aid channelled through organisms not part of the United Nations. Any finance outside the UNFCCC cannot be considered as the fulfilment of developed country’s commitments under the convention.

10) Finance has to be directed to the plans or national programs of the different states and not to projects that follow market logic.

11) Financing must not be concentrated just in some developed countries but has to give priority to the countries that have contributed less to greenhouse gas emissions, those that preserve nature and are suffering the impact of climate change.

12) The Integral Financial Mechanism must be under the coverage of the United Nations, not under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and other intermediaries such as the World Bank and regional development banks; its management must be collective, transparent and non-bureaucratic. Its decisions must be made by all member countries, especially by developing countries, and not by the donors or bureaucratic administrators.

Technology transfer to developing countries

13) Innovation and technology related to climate changes must be within the public domain, not under any private monopolistic patent regime that obstructs and makes technology transfer more expensive to developing countries.

14) Products that are the fruit of public financing for technology innovation and development of have to be placed within the public domain and not under a private regime of patents[7], so that they can be freely accessed by developing countries.

15) Encourage and improve the system of voluntary and compulsory licenses so that all countries can access products already patented quickly and free of cost. Developed countries cannot treat patents and intellectual property rights as something “sacred” that has to be preserved at any cost. The regime of flexibilities available for the intellectual property rights in the cases of serious problems for public health has to be adapted and substantially enlarged to heal Mother Earth.

16) Recover and promote indigenous peoples' practices in harmony with nature which have proven to be sustainable through centuries.

Adaptation and mitigation with the participation of all the people

17) Promote mitigation actions, programs and plans with the participation of local communities and indigenous people in the framework of full respect for and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The best mechanism to confront the challenge of climate change are not market mechanisms, but conscious, motivated and well organised human beings endowed with an identity of their own.

18) The reduction of the emissions from deforestation and forest degradation must be based on a mechanism of direct compensation from developed to developing countries, through a sovereign implementation that ensures broad participation of local communities, and a mechanism for monitoring, reporting and verifying that is transparent and public.

A UN for the environment and climate change

19) We need a World Environment and Climate Change Organisation to which multilateral trade and financial organisations are subordinated, so as to promote a different model of development that environmentally friendly and resolves the profound problems of impoverishment. This organisation must have effective follow-up, verification and sanctioning mechanisms to ensure that the present and future agreements are complied with.

20) It is fundamental to structurally transform the World Trade Organiation, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the international economic system as a whole, in order to guarantee fair and complementary trade, as well as financing without conditions for sustainable development that avoids the waste of natural resources and fossil fuels in the production processes, trade and product transport.

In this negotiation process towards Copenhagen, it is fundamental to guarantee the participation of our people as active stakeholders at a national, regional and worldwide level, especially taking into account those sectors most affected, such as indigenous peoples who have always promoted the defense of Mother Earth.

Humankind is capable of saving the Earth if we recover the principles of solidarity, complementarity and harmony with nature in contraposition to the reign of competition, profits and rampant consumption of natural resources.

[1] Due to the “NiƱa” phenomenon, that becomes more frequent as a result of the climate change, Bolivia has lost 4% of its GDP in 2007.
[2] Known as the Clean Development Mechanism
[3] At the present there is only one adaptation fund with approximately $500 million for more than 150 developing countries. According to the UNFCCC secretary, $171 billion is required for adaptation and $380 billionis required for mitigation.
[4] Stern report
[5] Kyoto Protocol, Art. 3.
[6] The Stern Review has suggested one percent of global GDP, which represents less than $700 billion per year.
[7] According to UNCTAD (1998), public financing in developing countries contributes with 40% of the resources for innovation and development of technology.
http://links. 769

Campaign to Appoint a Sustainable Choice as Secretary of Agriculture

This is a petition asking Obama to appoint a "sustainable" choice as Secretary of Agriculture.

Mary Bull an activist in SF worked with Michael Dimock, president of Roots of Change. He was on a conference call with Obama's transition team last week. He says that they are aware of the petition and said that 25,000 endorsements would get their attention, and 50,000 could really influence Obama's pick.

It's currently at 42,000, and slowing down. Please take 15 seconds to sign, and a few moments to pass this along to your own networks. To reiterate: this petition has the attention of Obama's team, and they are expected to make their choice public very soon, so there are only a few days left to press for a reform-minded choice.

Go here to sign petition: