“A smooth sea never made a skillful mariner, neither do uninterrupted prosperity and success qualify for usefulness and happiness. The storms of adversity, like those of the ocean, rouse the faculties, and excite the invention, prudence, skill and fortitude or the voyager. The martyrs of ancient times, in bracing their minds to outward calamities, acquired a loftiness of purpose and a moral heroism worth a lifetime of softness and security.”
... if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”
Does anyone really believe that Weyerhaeuser is going to stop deforesting because we ask nicely? Does anyone really believe that Monsanto will stop Monsantoing because we ask nicely? If only we get a Democrat in the White House, things will be okay. If only we pass this or that piece of legislation, things will be okay. If only we defeat this or that piece of legislation, things will be okay. Nonsense. Things will not be okay. They are already not okay, and they’re getting worse. Rapidly.
But it isn’t only false hopes that keep those who go along enchained. It is hope itself. Hope, we are told, is our beacon in the dark. It is our light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. It is the beam of light that makes its way into our prison cells. It is our reason for persevering, our protection against despair (which must be avoided at all costs). How can we continue if we do not have hope?
We’ve all been taught that hope in some future condition—like hope in some future heaven—is and must be our refuge in current sorrow. I’m sure you remember the story of Pandora. She was given a tightly sealed box and was told never to open it. But, being curious, she did, and out flew plagues, sorrow, and mischief, probably not in that order. Too late she clamped down the lid. Only one thing remained in the box: hope. Hope, the story goes, was the only good the casket held among many evils, and it remains to this day mankind’s sole comfort in misfortune. No mention here of action being a comfort in misfortune, or of actually doing something to alleviate or eliminate one’s misfortune.
The more I understand hope, the more I realize that all along it deserved to be in the box with the plagues, sorrow, and mischief; that it serves the needs of those in power as surely as belief in a distant heaven; that hope is really nothing more than a secular way of keeping us in line.
Hope is, in fact, a curse, a bane. I say this not only because of the lovely Buddhist saying “Hope and fear chase each other’s tails,” not only because hope leads us away from the present, away from who and where we are right now and toward some imaginary future state. I say this because of what hope is.
More or less all of us yammer on more or less endlessly about hope. You wouldn’t believe—or maybe you would—how many magazine editors have asked me to write about the apocalypse, then enjoined me to leave readers with a sense of hope. But what, precisely, is hope? At a talk I gave last spring, someone asked me to define it. I turned the question back on the audience, and here’s the definition we all came up with: hope is a longing for a future condition over which you have no agency; it means you are essentially powerless.
I’m not, for example, going to say I hope I eat something tomorrow. I just will. I don’t hope I take another breath right now, nor that I finish writing this sentence. I just do them. On the other hand, I do hope that the next time I get on a plane, it doesn’t crash. To hope for some result means you have given up any agency concerning it. Many people say they hope the dominant culture stops destroying the world. By saying that, they’ve assumed that the destruction will continue, at least in the short term, and they’ve stepped away from their own ability to participate in stopping it.
I do not hope coho salmon survive. I will do whatever it takes to make sure the dominant culture doesn’t drive them extinct. If coho want to leave us because they don’t like how they’re being treated—and who could blame them?—I will say goodbye, and I will miss them, but if they do not want to leave, I will not allow civilization to kill them off.
When we realize the degree of agency we actually do have, we no longer have to “hope” at all. We simply do the work. We make sure salmon survive. We make sure prairie dogs survive. We make sure grizzlies survive. We do whatever it takes.
When we stop hoping for external assistance, when we stop hoping that the awful situation we’re in will somehow resolve itself, when we stop hoping the situation will somehow not get worse, then we are finally free—truly free—to honestly start working to resolve it. I would say that when hope dies, action begins.
PEOPLE SOMETIMES ASK ME, “If things are so bad, why don’t you just kill yourself?” The answer is that life is really, really good. I am a complex enough being that I can hold in my heart the understanding that we are really, really fucked, and at the same time that life is really, really good. I am full of rage, sorrow, joy, love, hate, despair, happiness, satisfaction, dissatisfaction, and a thousand other feelings. We are really fucked. Life is still really good.
Many people are afraid to feel despair. They fear that if they allow themselves to perceive how desperate our situation really is, they must then be perpetually miserable. They forget that it is possible to feel many things at once. They also forget that despair is an entirely appropriate response to a desperate situation. Many people probably also fear that if they allow themselves to perceive how desperate things are, they may be forced to do something about it.
“What if the point of life has nothing to do with the creation of an ever-expanding region of control?
What if the point is not to keep at bay all those people, beings, objects and emotions that we so needlessly fear?
What if the point instead is to let go of that control?
What if the point of life, the primary reason for existence, is to lie naked with your lover in a shady grove of trees?
What if the point is to taste each other’s sweat and feel the delicate pressure of finger on chest, thigh on thigh, lip on cheek?
What if the point is to stop, then, in your slow movements together, and listen to the birdsong, to watch the dragonflies hover, to look at your lover’s face, then up at the undersides of leaves moving together in the breeze?
What if the point is to invite these others into your movement, to bring trees, wind, grass, dragonflies into your family and in so doing abandon any attempt to control them?
What if the point all along has been to get along, to relate, to experience things on their own terms?
What if the point is to feel joy when joyous, love when loving, anger when angry, thoughtful when full of thought?
Critical Knowledge; Why Our Entire Legal System Needs to Be Destroyed and Replaced with Local Community Bill of Rights
To reverse the effects of civilization would destroy the dreams of a lot of people. There’s no way around it. We can talk all we want about sustainability, but there’s a sense in which it doesn’t matter that these people’s dreams are based on, embedded in, intertwined with, and formed by an inherently destructive economic and social system. Their dreams are still their dreams. What right do I — or does anyone else — have to destroy them.
When American colonists declared independence from England in 1776, they also freed themselves from control by English corporations that extracted their wealth and dominated trade. After fighting a revolution to end this exploitation, our country’s founders retained a healthy fear of corporate power and wisely limited corporations exclusively to a business role. Corporations were forbidden from attempting to influence elections, public policy, and other realms of civic society.
Initially, the privilege of incorporation was granted selectively to enable activities that benefited the public, such as construction of roads or canals. Enabling shareholders to profit was seen as a means to that end. The states also imposed conditions (some of which remain on the books, though unused) like these*:
- Corporate charters (licenses to exist) were granted for a limited time and could be revoked promptly for violating laws.
- Corporations could engage only in activities necessary to fulfill their chartered purpose.
- Corporations could not own stock in other corporations nor own any property that was not essential to fulfilling their chartered purpose.
- Corporations were often terminated if they exceeded their authority or caused public harm.
- Owners and managers were responsible for criminal acts committed on the job.
- Corporations could not make any political or charitable contributions nor spend money to influence law-making.
For 100 years after the American Revolution, legislators maintained tight controll of the corporate chartering process. Because of widespread public opposition, early legislators granted very few corporate charters, and only after debate. Citizens governed corporations by detailing operating conditions not just in charters but also in state constitutions and state laws. Incorporated businesses were prohibited from taking any action that legislators did not specifically allow.
States also limited corporate charters to a set number of years. Unless a legislature renewed an expiring charter, the corporation was dissolved and its assets were divided among shareholders. Citizen authority clauses limited capitalization, debts, land holdings, and sometimes, even profits. They required a company’s accounting books to be turned over to a legislature upon request. The power of large shareholders was limited by scaled voting, so that large and small investors had equal voting rights. Interlocking directorates were outlawed. Shareholders had the right to remove directors at will.
One of the most severe blows to citizen authority arose out of the 1886 Supreme Court case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad. Though the court did not make a ruling on the question of “corporate personhood,” thanks to misleading notes of a clerk, the decision subsequently was used as precedent to hold that a corporation was a “natural person.” This story was detailed in “The Theft of Human Rights,” a chapter in Thom Hartmann’s recommended book Unequal Protection.
From that point on, the 14th Amendment, enacted to protect rights of freed slaves, was used routinely to grant corporations constitutional “personhood.” Justices have since struck down hundreds of local, state and federal laws enacted to protect people from corporate harm based on this illegitimate premise. Armed with these “rights,” corporations increased control over resources, jobs, commerce, politicians, even judges and the law.
A United States Congressional committee concluded in 1941, “The principal instrument of the concentration of economic power and wealth has been the corporate charter with unlimited power….”
Many U.S.-based corporations are now transnational, but the corrupted charter remains the legal basis for their existence. At Reclaim Democracy!, we believe citizens can reassert the convictions of our nation’s founders who struggled successfully to free us from corporate rule in the past. These changes must occur at the most fundamental level — the U.S. Constitution.
The Declaration of Independence:
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the …. Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God…. entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
(They wrote their first intention when they broke away from the British regime to follow Nature’s Laws and Ways…it is time to go back to honor, respect and find our balance with Nature once again. This is the new movement that will transform us to a deeper meaning for all life and long term existence.)
Empowering ourselves and our community to declare our rights to self determine what goes on where we live and to how we care for and protect our natural resources.
Bill Twist first heard about the rights of nature concept in 2007 after a colleague attended a CELDF Democracy School. Twist is the co-founder of the Pachamama Alliance, a San Francisco-based NGO that works to defend the Amazon rainforest and the Indigenous communities that live there. Twist’s partners in Ecuador had told him that the new president, Rafael Correa, was about to call a convention to rewrite Ecuador’s constitution. Twist immediately recognized an opportunity: Here was a chance to enshrine the rights of nature concept at the highest level of a nation’s government.
He called Thomas Linzey to propose the idea. The CELDF founder was hesitant, Twist says. He didn’t want to go on a wild goose chase. Linzey told Twist that finding some person of influence in Ecuador to champion the rights of nature would be essential for success.
Linzey started CELDF in 1995 to help communities stop development projects that posed public health or environmental risks. But he found that even when he won, he lost. Companies were almost always able to slip through the regulatory system meant to control their activities. So CELDF took a different tack and began working with city councils to pass ordinances that simply asserted a community’s right to self-governance and declared that within their jurisdictions corporations would no longer enjoy the rights granted to flesh-and-blood people. To help lay the groundwork for the ambitious ordinances, CELDF started hosting its Democracy Schools in 2003. The weekend-long seminars teach that in order to have real democracy it is necessary to subordinate corporate privileges to the will of local communities.
In the draft text “natural systems” was exchanged for Pacha Mama, a Quecha phrase meaning “Mother Earth.” A core element of the constitution now echoed the Indigenous cosmovision and that, Greene says, made it difficult for assembly members to oppose the provision. The final wording of Article 71, read: “Nature, or Pacha Mama, where life is reproduced and occurs, has the right to integral respect for its existence and for the maintenance and regeneration of its life cycles, structure, functions and evolutionary processes.”
In September 2008, two thirds of Ecuadorians voted to approve the new constitution in a national referendum. For the first time, a nation-state had made the health of ecosystems a core element of its governing laws.
The next major boost for the rights of nature idea came in April 2010, when Bolivian president Evo Morales hosted the “The World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth” in the city of Cochabamba. The summit was intended as a response to the formal United Nations-sponsored climate negotiations that had just suffered a meltdown in Copenhagen. The idea was to give civil society groups an opportunity to propose their own solutions for grappling with the climate crisis. The result was the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth.
Drafted in part by Cormac Cullinan, the declaration is modeled on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It begins ambitiously – “We, the peoples and nations of Earth” – and goes on to assert that “the rights of each being are limited by the rights of other beings and any conflict between their rights must be resolved in a way that maintains the integrity, balance and health of Mother Earth.” On April 22, Earth Day, the 35,000 people attending the Cochabamba summit adopted the declaration as a kind of clarion call for making a stronger commitment to the natural world.
Several weeks later, Pablo Solon, Bolivia’s UN ambassador, submitted the text of the declaration to the General Assembly, the first step toward getting the international body to adopt it.
Ideas matter. The thought-provoking language in the rights of nature laws has helped to re-frame the debate about how to balance the needs of 7 billion humans against the needs of the rest of the planet’s living communities. At the most recent UN climate summits – in Cancun in 2010 and in Durban last December – members of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature promoted the idea as an intellectual counterweight to the market-driven approaches (like cap and trade and carbon trading) that have dominated the UN process. At least at the margins, the conversation about our relationship to nature is changing.
Incorporating the rights of nature concept into policy has been a different matter.
CELDF’s “New Frontiers: Building a Grassroots Movement for Community Rights and the Rights of Nature
“Surely by now there can be few here who still believe the purpose of government is to protect us from the destructive activities of corporations. At last most of us must understand that the opposite is true: that the primary purpose of government is to protect those who run the economy from the outrage of injured citizens.”
― Derrick Jensen, Endgame, Vol. 1: The Problem of Civilization
- Normally under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the American people are not generally subject to random and arbitrary stops and searches.
- The border, however, has always been an exception. There, the longstanding view is that the normal rules do not apply. For example the authorities do not need a warrant or probable cause to conduct a “routine search.”
- But what is “the border”? According to the government, it is a 100-mile wide strip that wraps around the “external boundary” of the United States.
- As a result of this claimed authority, individuals who are far away from the border, American citizens traveling from one place in America to another, are being stopped and harassed in ways that our Constitution does not permit.
- Border Patrol has been setting up checkpoints inland — on highways in states such as California, Texas and Arizona, and at ferry terminals in Washington State. Typically, the agents ask drivers and passengers about their citizenship. Unfortunately, our courts so far have permitted these kinds of checkpoints – legally speaking, they are “administrative” stops that are permitted only for the specific purpose of protecting the nation’s borders. They cannot become general drug-search or other law enforcement efforts.
- However, these stops by Border Patrol agents are not remaining confined to that border security purpose. On the roads of California and elsewhere in the nation – places far removed from the actual border – agents are stopping, interrogating, and searching Americans on an everyday basis with absolutely no suspicion of wrongdoing.
- The bottom line is that the extraordinary authorities that the government possesses at the border are spilling into regular American streets.
Covered California will face a $78 million deficit in fiscal year 2015-2016 when the federal government stops providing funding for the exchange through the Affordable Care Act, according to budget estimates, U-T San Diego reports.
Details of Deficit
Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, the Affordable Care Act no longer will provide federal grants to fund state health exchanges. In addition, California law prohibits using the state’s general fund to pay for the exchange.
Exchange budget statements do not include a definitive plan for how Covered California will continue funding its operations, according to U-T San Diego.
Potential Revenue Sources
The exchange charges insurers an administrative fee for each policy sold on the exchange, which could boost revenue if enrollment numbers are high. The fee is $13.95 per policy in 2014 and will increase or decrease in 2015 depending on the number of individuals who purchased plans.
A recent report on Obamacare by the CBO found that the law will nudge workers to work less. Why? Because if you don’t have to take a full-time job just to get coverage, then maybe you won’t. Conservatives are interpreting the report to mean that Obamacare is a “job killer.” But they’re deliberately missing the fact that the work reduction in this case is voluntary.
“The estimated reduction stems almost entirely from a net decline in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply,” says the report.
Assuming the CBO is correct about this voluntary reduction, what’s so bad about it? Why would anyone be up in arms about the idea of a person choosing, of her own free will, to work less?
If you’re a 60-year-old retail worker with diabetes, you’ve had to work a full-time job in order to get health insurance coverage. Under Obamacare, your pre-existing condition won’t prevent you from getting insured, so you may choose to cut back your hours or retire early. Facing job insecurity and layoffs, older workers have often been forced to taking McJobs just to be able to go to the doctor, when they could be doing much more interesting and productive things with their time, like teaching their grandchildren to read or engaging in civic activities.
On Jan. 31, the USPS Supplies and Services Purchasing Office posted a notice on theFederal Business Opportunities websiteasking contractors to register with USPS as potential ammunition suppliers for a variety of cartridges.
“The United States Postal Service intends to solicit proposals for assorted small arms ammunition,” the notice reads, which also mentioned a deadline of Feb. 10.
The Post Office published the notice just two days after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announced his proposal to remove a federal gun ban that prevents lawful concealed carry holders from carrying handguns inside post offices across the country.
Ironically the Postal Service isn’t the first non-law enforcement agency seeking firearms and ammunition.
Since 2001, the U.S. Dept. of Education has been building a massive arsenal through purchases orchestrated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
The Education Dept. has spent over $80,000 so far on Glock pistols and over $17,000 on Remington shotguns.
“When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in an American flag.”
Huey Long, an assassinated American maverick politician of the 1930’s, famously foretold.
It arrived ceremoniously on the morning of September 11, 2001. Three thousands perished in the flames as the nation watched the tragedy unfold in shock and horror. Predictably, Americans rallied around the flag.
America’s new century had a new Pearl Harbor, and the media beat the war drums to the thunderous applause of flag-waving armchair patriots.
Within 45 days of the atrocity, Congress passed the ill-named Patriot Act – without a single congressman reading the bill;. It was a full-scale assault on our rights and freedoms. This act eliminated our rights to unwarranted searches, the right to legal counsel, the right to a trial.
It greatly expanded the government’s ability to spy on citizens without a warrant. That was the beginning of “The Nazi Hydra.”—
A piercing study of the tenacious roots of American fascism in our plutocracy, from robber baron days to Reichstag fire to the WTC atrocity and “Homeland Security.” This sweeping, 700-page documentary of the American oligarchy’s century-long project for world dictatorship is bound to be a landmark in the writing of American history. Includes a blow-by-blow account of the successful fascist assault and takeover of America’s media.
Los Angeles school officials have failed for now in their efforts to get full access to a digital curriculum that the school system purchased in June.
The curriculum, developed by Pearson for use on district iPads, is off-limits because Pearson is likely to bid on a separate contract with the L.A. Unified School District, and district rules limit contact between a bidder and the district.
Some of the curriculum is available for use on the devices, but officials have wanted to see all of it.
“It just seems outrageous that we would be unable to see the curriculum no matter how hard we try,” Ratliff said. “It just seems that something is wrong.”
A so-called Cone of Silence limits communications during the competition for a contract “to ensure a level playing field with an open and competitive process,” according to district documents. The new competition is to decide which vendors will provide devices and instructional materials for laptops. That bidding process begins Friday.
As of Friday morning, Ratliff will be unable to contact Pearson — or even speak publicly about the Pearson curriculum in any way — until a vote to approve the laptop contract comes before the Board of Education, said district lawyer Greg McNair.
Ratliff has tried to review the curriculum for months. It was packaged into a deal for iPads that is costing the district $768 per device. The district’s goal is to provide a portable computer to every student, teacher and school administrator as part of a $1-billion-plus technology program.
The Boston Bombing Hoax – Explained in 6 Minutes
Here’s six minutes that highlight the extraordinary irregularities surrounding this case. These are the facts of the case:
1. It’s now admitted (June 2013) that there was a police bomb training at the EXACT time and location where the “bombs” when off
2. The captured brother was videotaped carrying a WHITE backpack, not a black one
3. An eye witness reported that the elder brother (Tamerlan Tsarnaev) was hit by a police car and then shot – he was not run over by his fleeing brother
4. The captured brother (Dzhokhar Tsarnaev) was photographed functional and non-bloody when he surrendered. He went to the hospital on a gurney, covered in blood with a wound to his throat so serious he was put in intensive care.
5. One of the friends of the accused – who was unarmed and on crutches – was shot and killed by an FBI agent SEVEN times during an interview and this murder is still unexplained.
Unraveling Sandy Hook & The Posthuman Society
Sofia Smallstorm is known for her research on 9/11, which culminated in the documentary 9/11 Mysteries. She is also noted for the tie-in between chemtrails and synthetic biology. The Sandy Hook shootings caught her interest because the story has expanded like a giant artificial cloud since its inception. Sofia is known for connecting the dots with rich graphics and narration. She continues to research a variety of topics, and she shares much of her findings and opinions in her monthly newsletter, Avatar Update. We’ll discuss her presentation, “Unraveling Sandy Hook in 2, 3, 4 and 5 Dimensions.” On December 14, 2012 , just seven days before the winter solstice, a lone young gunman caused havoc at a Connecticut elementary school. The Sandy Hook shootings were a potboiler, setting off a nationwide debate over gun control. But is this all that will ensue? From photo analysis to ballistics to medical protocol to unseen bodies and weak excuses, the story doesn’t add up. She’ll discuss this bizarre story that has more than one dimension. Sophia explains how this event unravels a spooky story involving Fairfield County residents, the Baha’i Faith, CIA, collectivism and the making of a new kind of town. In hour two, Sophia ties in the creation of a post-human society and the current altering of humanity. We continue on several oddities surrounding the Sandy Hook shooting event. Sofia brings together Newtown, the New World Order and the development of a new kind of human.
Nothing influences President Barack Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline quite like the protests against it, led by Bill McKibben, an American environmentalist, and his organization, called 350.org. On Wednesday, 350.org and the Sierra Club participated in an anti-Keystone protest at the White House and this Sunday they are holding another one on Capital Hill. 350.org has the look and feel of an amateur, grassroots operation, but in reality, it is a multi-million dollar campaign run by staff earning six-digit salaries.
In a 2010 article by McKibben, posted on at least 10 websites, he writes, “Last year, with almost no money, our scruffy little outfit, 350.org, managed to organize what Foreign Policy called the ‘largest ever co-ordinated global rally of any kind’ on any issue.” In another article that McKibben penned for Tikkun magazine, he says that he built the climate movement with seven graduate students at Middlebury College and “no money or organization.” During the fall of 2012, in interviews with Jed Lipinski and Grand Valley University, McKibben again told the story of starting 350.org with seven students and “almost no money.” But that’s not what tax returns indicate.
1Sky began in 2008. In its first year, 1Sky reported expenditures of US$2.6-million, tax returns show. Of that, US$2.2-million was payroll, including US$1.2-million for consultants. In 2009, 1Sky’s campaign director, Gillian Caldwell, a lawyer by training, was paid US$203,620 through the Rockefeller Family Fund. A salary of more than US$200,000 is hardly typical of a “scruffy little outfit.”
The ARGUS program has itself consumed a total of three-quarters of a billion tax-payer dollars. Most of the spending has been passed under President Obama’s tenure. Police State USA analyzed DARPA’s spending reports and came up with the following breakdown of the ARGUS budget:
FY 2008 – $114.752 million
FY 2009 – $118.880 million
FY 2010 – $117.041 million
FY 2011 – $109.476 million
FY 2012 – $88.118 million
FY 2013 – $101.339 million
FY 2014 – $117.233 million (predicted)
Admitted total: $766,839,000.00. (Source: DARPA Budget Summary Reports for FY 2010-2014)
Remember these figures when people in Washington D.C. are complaining about the next government shutdown. The federal government never has shortage of resources when it comes to controlling populations and spying.
What to Expect from ARGUS
It is indicative of a collective absence of conscience that this government is spending this inordinate, immoral amount of money on this technology when we still have Vets sleeping in our streets; our infrastructure is rotting; and when more and more people become homeless, courtesy of offshoring/outsourcing.
The USOC awards prizes to U.S. Olympic medal winners: $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for bronze. Relative to each athlete’s income tax bracket, some top earners such as Shaun White could end up paying over a third (39.6 percent) of their winnings to the IRS.
Additionally, because the U.S. is one of only a handful of developed countries that tax income earned abroad, it is likely America’s competitors will not be subject to such a tax. Taken together – the tax on Olympic athletes and the tax on income earned abroad – it can be said the U.S. has officially “earned the Gold” for having one of the most backwards and illogical tax codes in the world.
US athletes with Olympic aspirations just might want to look at alternative citizenships before they compete.
Latest excavation work in the ancient city of Çatalhöyük in Turkey has revealed the world’s first hemp-weaved fabric, which was found wrapped around a baby skeleton in the ground of a burned house.