Friday, October 30, 2009

The Dreamer


"Dreams have but one owner at a time. That is why dreamers are lonely."

- Erma Bombeck

Desires


"You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need."

-
Vernon Howard

Vandana Shiva on Seed Saving


Misguided Loyalty


"Patriotism in its simplest, clearest, and most indubitable meaning is nothing but an instrument for the attainment of the government's ambitious and mercenary aims, and a renunciation of human dignity, common sense, and conscience by the governed, and a slavish submission to those who hold power. That is what is really preached wherever patriotism is championed. Patriotism is slavery."

-Leo Tolstoy

Sixteen Military Wives



Sixteen military wives
Thirty-two softly focused, brightly-colored eyes
Staring at the natural tan
Of thirty-two gently clenching, wrinkled little hands

Seventeen company men
Out of which only twelve will make it back again
Sergeant sends a letter to five military wives
His tears drip down from ten little eyes

Cheer them on to their rivals
Because America can
And America can't say no
And America does
If America says it's so
It's so
And the anchorperson on TV
Goes la-di-da-di-da

Fifteen celebrity minds
Leading their fifteen sordid, wretched, checkered lives
Will they find their solution in time?
Using fifteen pristine moderate liberal minds

Eighteen academy chairs
Out of which only seven really even care
Doling out a garland to five celebrity minds
They're humbly taken by surprise

Cheer them on to their rivals
Because America can
And America can't say no
And America does
If America says it's so
It's so
And the anchorperson on TV
Goes la-di-da-di-da-didi-didi-da
La-di-da-di-da-didi-didi-da

Fourteen cannibal kings
Wondering blithely what the dinner bell will bring
Fifteen celebrity minds
Served in a leafy bed of sixteen military wives

Cheer them on to their rivals
Because America can
And America can't say no
And America does
If America says it's so
It's so
And the anchorperson on TV
Goes la-di-da-di-da-didi-didi-da
La-di-da-di-da-didi-didi-da

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Troops Outnumber Taliban 12 to 1

"BRUSSELS — There are already more than 100,000 international troops in Afghanistan working with 200,000 Afghan security forces and police. It adds up to a 12-1 numerical advantage over Taliban rebels, but it hasn't led to anything close to victory.

Now, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan is asking for tens of thousands more troops to stem the escalating insurgency, raising the question of how many more troops it would take to succeed.

The commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, says the extra forces are needed to implement a new strategy that focuses on protecting civilians and depriving the militants of popular support in a country where tribal militias may be Taliban today and farmers tomorrow.

The White House said Tuesday that President Barack Obama has nearly finished gathering information and advice on how to proceed in Afghanistan, where bombings killed eight more American troops. With October now the deadliest month for U.S. forces in the war, many experts question the need for more troops.

'The U.S. and its allies already have ample numbers and firepower to annihilate the Taliban, if only the Taliban would cooperate by standing still and allowing us to bomb them to smithereens,' said Andrew Bacevich, a professor of international relations and history at Boston University, and one-time platoon leader in Vietnam.

'But the insurgents are conducting the war in ways that do not play to (allied) strengths.'

The Taliban rebels are estimated to number no more than 25,000. Ljubomir Stojadinovic, a military analyst and guerrilla warfare expert from Serbia, said that although McChrystal's reinforcements would lift the ratio to 20-1 or more, they would prove counterproductive.

'It's impossible to regain the initiative by introducing more foreign forces, which will only breed more resentment and more recruits for the enemy,' he said. 'The Soviets tried the exact same thing in Afghanistan in the 1980s with disastrous results.'"

Article continued at http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jWM24PqWpJg-935bFXbYANhGJ_lQD9BJLDVO0

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hoffer


"It is the malady of our age that the young are so busy teaching us that they have no time left to learn."

-Eric Hoffer

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Organic Revolution


"Let us not talk falsely now, for the hour is getting late."


Bob Dylan, "All Along the Watchtower"


* * *

"Beyond the gloom and doom of the climate crisis, there lies a powerful and regenerative grassroots solution: organic food, farming, and ranching. Even as politicians and the powerful fossil fuel lobby drag their heels and refuse to acknowledge that we have about ten years left of 'business as usual' before we irreversibly destroy the climate and ourselves, there is a powerful, though largely unrecognized, life-force spreading its roots underground.

Millions of organic farmers, ranchers, conservationists, and backyard gardeners (supported by millions of organic consumers) are demonstrating that we can build a healthy alternative to industrial agriculture and Food Inc. Our growing organic movement is proving that we can not only feed the world with healthy food, but also reverse global warming, by capturing and sequestering billions of tons of climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases in the soil, through plant photosynthesis, composting, cover crops, rotational grazing, wetlands preservation, and reforestation.

The heretofore unpublicized "good news" on climate change, according to the Rodale Institute and other soil scientists, is that transitioning from chemical, water, and energy-intensive industrial agriculture practices to organic farming and ranching on the world's 3.5 billion acres of farmland and 8.2 billion acres of pasture or rangeland can sequester 7,000 pounds per acre of climate-destabilizing CO2 every year, while nurturing healthy soils, plants, grasses, and trees that are resistant to drought, heavy rain, pests, and disease. And of course organic farms and ranches can provide us with food that is much more nutritious than industrial farms and ranches-food filled with vitamins, anti-oxidants, and essential trace minerals, free from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), pesticides, antibiotics, and sewage sludge."

- By Ronnie Cummins

Article continued at http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/10/22-11

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Passionate Storm





















Walking into the field I see it, high above.

Far off in the distance it looms, eerily,
as if warning those nearby of impending destruction.

Do you see it too?
The thunderstorm that is nearing?
The demon in the sky?

The cloud towers high into the atmosphere.
It has blocked out the light.
The sun is not coming back anytime soon.

I hear, in the distance, a rumble more powerful than the hungriest of stomachs,
a thunderous last warning for all in its path.

I can feel the wind blowing towards the beast,
like a vacuum sucking life out of the air.
It is fear mongering, yet awe-inspiring.

Darkness ensues.

I hear the rush of the wind,
that bristles through the mighty oaks,
and dances with the prairie grasses.

Closer it comes, speeding, devouring, and destroying.
I am mesmerized--I cannot turn away.
The beauty is indescribable.

Standing tall, with my arms stretched outward, I welcome its arrival,
with enlivened emotion.

The swoosh of the wind comes forth,
violently knocking me to the ground.
Intense flashes of light overwhelm my vision,
while deafening booms, to my ears, mute all other sounds.

I stand up again,
though not for long.

Convincingly, the storm shows no mercy,
ripping out the oak trees as if they were weeds,
twisting the houses into nothingness,
and sending the rubble my way.

I am hit.

Rocks, branches, and apple-sized stones of ice.
My consciousness hibernates,
sending me into a deep, fantastic state.

I am the thunderstorm.
Tantalizing, yet breath-taking,
destructive, yet beautiful.
Unstoppable and bluntly honest,
while graceful and mysteriously hypnotic.

I am the thunderstorm,
treating the rich and poor as equals,
plants and animals, alike.
Offering drink to thirstful species,
and refreshing temperatures to those who overheat.

I am the thunderstorm,
changing landscapes faster than the mightiest of bulldozers known to humankind.
Playing fifty-two-card-pickup with... Cars.


Then again, I am just one little, short lived thunderstorm.
Nothing more than a cloud in a vast, blue sky.
Dieing as quickly as I formed,
vanishing into the night,
never to be seen again.


My limitations exist,
though my potential is enormous.



I am the thunderstorm.



- Teddy Grahams

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fielding


"Make money your god and it will plague you like the devil"

- Henry Fielding

Light Pollution

"Light pollution has had disastrous effects on migrating birds, resulting in millions dying each year, and that figure increases with the combination of outdoor light and fog. Birds use the light at the horizon to migrate at night. When the birds see a brightly lit building, they become confused and fly around and around — in essence becoming trapped in the light — eventually dropping dead from exhaustion.

The term photopollution — artificial light that has adverse effects on wildlife — was coined in a watershed paper by Dutch ecologist F.J. Verheijen in 1985. In the paper, Verheijen says that many nocturnally active animals need a natural light field between sunset and sunrise as a requirement for survival.

'When we think about the night and the extent of light pollution in the last 20 years, it's growing far faster than the human population and has changed the environment significantly,' explained Longcore.

But light pollution's harmful effects aren't restricted to animals.

'Women who work at night, change shifts often or don't get proper sleep at night suppress their melatonin production and have higher rates of breast cancer,' explained Dr. Mario Motta, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society and associate at the North Shore Cardiovascular Associates. 'It's a fact. The exact cause is speculative, but we think it's because of the changes in the melatonin production due to disruption of their circadian rhythm.'

Disrupting the circadian rhythm can cause insomnia, depression and increase the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease."

Article in its entirety:
http://miller-mccune.com/science_environment/blinded-by-the-light-1501

Monday, October 12, 2009

Celebrating Enslavement and Genocide

Christopher Columbus

"The original Haitians were called the Arawaks or Tainos. Christopher Columbus wrote in his log that the Arawaks were well built with good bodies and handsome features. He also reported that the Arawaks were remarkable for their hospitality and their belief in sharing. He said, 'they offered to share with anyone and that when you ask for something they never say no.' The Arawaks lived in village communes with a well-developed agriculture of corn, yams, and cassava. They had the ability to spin and weave, as well as being able to swim long distances. The Arawaks did not bear arms nor did they have prisons or prisoners. Columbus wrote that when the Santa Maria became shipwrecked, the Arawaks worked for hours to save the crew and cargo and that they were so honest that not one thing was missing. Arawak women were treated so well in early Haitian society that it startled the Spaniards. Columbus said that the Arawak men were of great intelligence because they could navigate all of their islands and give an amazingly precise account of everything.

The chief source, and on many matters the only source of information about what happened on the islands after Columbus arrived, was noted by a Catholic priest named Bartolome De Las Casas who lived during the time of Columbus. He transcribed Columbus's journal and wrote a multi-volume 'History of the Indies.' Las Casas says that Columbus returned to America on his second voyage with seventeen ships and with more than 1,200 heavily armed men with horses and attack dogs. Their aim was clearly to obtain as much gold and as many slaves as possible according to De Las Casas. Columbus went from island to island in the Caribbean, taking Arawaks as captives. He ordered everyone over the age of 14 to produce specific quantities of gold every three months, and if the Arawak could not produce this quota, Columbus then had his hands cut off; and left him to bleed to death.

If the Arawaks ever tried to escape, they were hunted down by the attack dogs and either hanged or burned alive. Within just two years, half of the three million Arawaks of Haiti died from murder, mutilation or suicide. Bishop De Las Casas reported that the Spaniards became so lazy that they refused to walk any distance; and either rode the backs of the Arawaks or were carried on hammocks by Arawaks who ran them in relays.

In other cases, the Spaniards had the Arawaks carry large leaves for their shade and had others to fan them with goose wings. Women were used as sex slaves and their children were murdered and then thrown into the sea. The Spaniards were so cruel, they thought nothing of cutting off slices of human flesh from the Arawaks just to test the sharpness of their blades. Bishop De Las Casas wrote, 'My eyes have seen these acts so foreign to human nature that now I tremble as I write.'

Christopher Columbus started the Trans-Atlantic slave trade by taking 500 of the healthiest men back to Spain to sell into slavery, and the proceeds from the sale helped to pay for his third voyage. The massive slave trade moving in the other direction, across the Atlantic from Africa to the Americas, was also begun in Haiti and was started by the son of Christopher Columbus in 1505 A.D. On his third voyage to Haiti, Queen Isabelle's new Governor, Francisco De Bobadilla, had Christopher Columbus and his two brothers arrested and sent back to Spain in chains as prisoners for their crimes against the Arawaks."

- Dr. Leroy Vaughn, Black People and Their History

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Truth


Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.

- Cree Indian Prophecy-

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Yes Men

A crafty, modernized twist to the art of nonviolent noncooperation.

Democratic Feasibility

"The question here, really, is what have we done to democracy? What have we turned it into? What happens once democracy has been used up? When it has been hollowed out and emptied of meaning? What happens when each of its institutions has metastasized into something dangerous? What happens now that democracy and the free market have fused into a single predatory organism with a thin, constricted imagination that revolves almost entirely around the idea of maximizing profit?

Is it possible to reverse this process? Can something that has mutated go back to being what it used to be? What we need today, for the sake of the survival of this planet, is long-term vision. Can governments whose very survival depends on immediate, extractive, short-term gain provide this? Could it be that democracy, the sacred answer to our short-term hopes and prayers, the protector of our individual freedoms and nurturer of our avaricious dreams, will turn out to be the endgame for the human race? Could it be that democracy is such a hit with modern humans precisely because it mirrors our greatest folly—our nearsightedness?

Our inability to live entirely in the present (like most animals do), combined with our inability to see very far into the future, makes us strange in-between creatures, neither beast nor prophet. Our amazing intelligence seems to have outstripped our instinct for survival. We plunder the earth hoping that accumulating material surplus will make up for the profound, unfathomable thing that we have lost. It would be conceit to pretend I have the answers to any of these questions. But it does look as if the beacon could be failing and democracy can perhaps no longer be relied upon to deliver the justice and stability we once dreamed it would."

- Arundhati Roy, http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175119